Beijing – Chinesewas broken. Six people with symptoms and six others with none tested positive for the virus it causes in a city, causing a dramatic response.
All the cases are linked to a single hospital, Qingdao Chest Hospital, in the city of Qingdao on China’s east coast. The city’s health commission posted the news on the Chinese social media site Weibo and the hospital, about 400 kilometers southeast of Beijing, was closed.
Qingdao is home to around 9 million people, more than New York and twice as many as Los Angeles, and authorities are now looking into each one. They are determined to finish this process by the end of this week ̵
Photos and videos running on social and state media show citizens lining up to be tested.
Officials in Wuhan, which has a slightly larger population, said all of its citizens were tested in just 10 days earlier this year when it faced a resurgence of the virus.
For many, the news of new cases, even after nearly two months without anyone, may be surprising. The whole country recently returned to work after an 8-day national holiday that saw millions of Chinese on the move.
It was the first big holiday since the coronavirus pandemic was brought under control here. About 637 million trips were made during the National Day break. To put that into perspective, it’s almost equivalent to every single American who makes two trips in the same amount of time.
People bought clogged air and rail tickets and highways to release pent-up frustration after being stuck at home for most of the year.
In the grand scheme of things, the new cases in Qingdao are a minor glitch in China’s officially reported coronavirus numbers. The World Health Organization, which is based on data provided by the Chinese government, has recorded just over 91,000 COVID-19 infections in China and less than 5,000 deaths.
Critics say the numbers reported by China are too low, probably fair criticism in a country known for covering up bad news.