China’s Health Ministry documented 50 new Chinese coronavirus cases on Tuesday, marking a record daily high for the country since its latest outbreak of the disease began on October 17.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), 32 of the 50 coronavirus cases tallied on October 26 were detected in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
“All except one of the infections occurred in the border area of Alxa League,” the Hong Kong-based newspaper reported. Alxa League is an Inner Mongolia region bordering the northern Chinese provinces of Gansu and Ningxia.
“Of the cases reported for Tuesday, five occurred in the city of Zunyi in Guizhou province, southern China, and four cases each were found in Rizhao, in the eastern province of Shandong, and Gansu province,” SCMP detailed. “Three cases were identified in the capital Beijing, while there were two at Yinzhou in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.”
Chinese health officials say they have traced the country’s most recent coronavirus epidemic to a tour group that traveled from Shanghai to Inner Mongolia in early to mid-October. Since sparking on October 17, the tour group outbreak “has spread to 11 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions in less than a fortnight,” SCMP observed Wednesday.
Officials claim a foreign source caused the outbreak despite no evidence the tour group, comprised of Chinese nationals, ever left the country.
“[S]even tourists who travelled to the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu as well as Inner Mongolia were found to be infected,” according to the newspaper.
“At least 12 other domestic tour groups and other travellers on road trips have been linked to the spread,” SCMP noted, citing data from China’s National Health Commission (NHC).
A local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) disciplinary committee in Alxa League ordered all hotels and residential communities in the prefecture “to lock down and bar anyone from leaving or entering” the buildings on October 26 to contain the region’s coronavirus outbreak.
“The Alxa League disciplinary committee and supervisory committee will start a full ad hoc supervision, seriously hold accountable those who fail to fulfil anti-epidemic responsibilities, are weak in implementing measures, leave their posts or cannot ensure no one leaves their houses and shops,” read an official notice from the disciplinary committee.
Alxa League’s Communist Party chief, Dai Qin, replaced his counterpart in nearby Ejina Banner county, Chen Zhanyun, on Tuesday after Inner Mongolia Communist Party authorities decided Chen should be “removed from his post for not fully implementing pandemic prevention measures,” Shanghai Daily reported.
“Chen Zhanyun has been removed and will be replaced by Dai Qin, the Party chief of Alxa League on a temporary basis,” the newspaper relayed, citing an original report by the Inner Mongolia Daily.
Ejina Banner, a county located in northern Inner Mongolia along the Chinese region’s border with Mongolia, “called on Wednesday for its 35,756 residents to work from home and ‘not go out unless permitted,’ with exceptions for emergency and frontline workers,” SCMP reported.