NEW DELHI : A Chinese national who completed 28 days in quarantine including three weeks at a centralised isolation, after returning from Singapore and tested negative for nine nucleic acid and one serum tests during the four weeks, has been identified as the likely source of the new Covid-19 outbreak spreading in eastern China’s Fujian province.
At least 75 positive infections including asymptomatic ones have been detected in Putian, Quanzhou and provincial capital, Xiamen in Fujian.
Authorities have ordered mass Covid-19 testing for students and teachers in the province to be completed within a week, state media reported.
The outbreak was spreading for 10 days in a school – where the two children of the first patient were students – before the first cases were detected, health authorities said on Monday about the fresh cluster that has now spread to more cities.
More than a dozen school students have tested Covid-19 positive.
According to state media, Lin Moujie, who returned from Singapore, is being considered to be the starting point of the outbreak.
According to a state media report, Lin entered the Xiamen Airport from Singapore on August 4. After being isolated for 14 days in Xiamen, he was transferred to the Xianyou county’s centralised isolation point on August 19 to continue the quarantine
According to Fujian province’s epidemic prevention and control measures, Lin started a 7-day home health surveillance on August 26 after completing 21 days of centralised quarantine.
“The official notification showed that during the 21-day quarantine period after entry, Lin Moujie conducted a total of nine nucleic acid tests and one serum test, and the results were all negative,” the report said.
“The epidemic situation in the city of Putian is ‘serious and complex’ and it is very likely more new cases will emerge in communities, schools and factories,” state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday.
“Authorities have traced 841 close contacts of the positive cases and further 1,690 close contacts of the aforesaid close contacts. A total of 1,293 people have been put under medical observation in designated places,” the Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
Local authorities are now scrambling to contain the latest flare-up before the mid-Autumn festival (September 21) and the National Day holidays in October.
Authorities in Putian, a manufacturing hub for sneakers, clothing, and electronic components, has closed cinemas and gyms, sealed off some entries and exits to highways and told residents not to leave the town until the outbreak is controlled.
Offline lessons in all schools in Putian have been suspended and China’s national health authority has sent a team of experts to the city, which has a population of 3.2mn.
Since the latest resurgence emerged on Friday, the county of Xianyou has conducted extensive nucleic acid testing in Fengting township and five neighbouring townships. “By 4pm on Sunday, 196,758 people had been tested, of which 121,087 samples returned results,” the report said.