China has largely been coronavirus-free since mid-August, with all of the reported cases from the country being imported from elsewhere. But as of October 11, Qingdao has reported a dozen locally transmitted cases, all linked to a hospital that treats imported infections, the city’s Municipal Health Commission said Monday.
Mass testing has already been done at Qingdao Chest Hospital, which has been shut down, with 114,862 people, staff and patients testing negative as of Monday.
The tests will now be rolled out across the city for the entire population of nine million, repeating the type of mass response previously seen in Beijing and other cities in China where clusters of infections have been detected.
These responses have been successful in keeping China̵
7;s overall infection rate low since the country’s initial outbreak was suppressed in March. This has allowed life to return to relative normalcy, with over 600 million tourists traveling this month for Golden Week, a national holiday around the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The cluster of Qingdao, a city on the east coast that is home to numerous beaches and popular with tourists, will raise concerns about a potential spike in vacation-related cases.
Port city authorities said the specific source of infection is still under investigation.
As of this week, China has recorded 85,578 confirmed cases and 4,634 coronavirus deaths, according to the country’s National Health Commission.