BEIJING (AP) – Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao said Tuesday that they had completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak in nearly two months.
The city’s health department said no new cases have been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned so far. The city said it has had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first identified over the weekend in a hospital.
The National Health Commission, however, said on Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus have been found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.
The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. China̵
Qingdao authorities said they plan to test all 9 million people in the city by the end of the week, similar to previous mass testing campaigns in other cities where outbreaks have been detected. The test began with “close contacts, close contacts of those close contacts and more casual contacts,” gradually expanding to all districts of the city, the health department said.
Qingdao is a major trading port and industrial center known for the country’s most famous electronics and brewery, as well as the home of the Northern Fleet of the Chinese Navy.
National Health Commission numbers released on Tuesday reported a total of 30 new cases of the virus in the previous 24 hours nationwide. He split those numbers into 13 cases where people had symptoms and 17 cases where they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.
China reported a total of 4,634 coronavirus deaths out of 85,591 cases. It did not provide a running total of asymptomatic cases, believed to be in the thousands.
The latest local outbreak reported from China occurred in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far west region of Xinjiang, with all cases reported since then among those arriving from outside China.
China has loosened its masks and demands for social distancing in the wake of declining case numbers, but has maintained solid tests as it seeks to get the economy back into full operation.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– About 100 members of a Hong Kong orchestra were quarantined after one of its members tested positive for the coronavirus. A bass clarinet from the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra has been infected, according to a Facebook post by fellow orchestra member Andrew Simon. Simon, the orchestra’s principal clarinetist, said he would be taken to a government quarantine camp for two weeks. All members of the orchestra must be quarantined to contain any risk to other performers and members of the public, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an unidentified government official. The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra kicked off its new season of performances last Friday with a socially far from sold out concert due to coronavirus restrictions. Hong Kong reported eight new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. It confirmed 5,202 infections, including 105 deaths.
– India reported the smallest daily increase in new coronavirus cases since mid-August, registering 55,342 in the past 24 hours. Health Ministry numbers released on Tuesday brought India’s confirmed total to over 7.17 million since the start of the pandemic. The ministry also reported 706 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 109,856. India still records the largest number of new cases per day globally, but has seen a steady decline since the beginning of September, when it recorded over 90,000 new cases every day.
– South Korea reported 102 new coronavirus cases, its first daily increase of more than 100 in six days. The rise is cause for concern as officials lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that viral spread was slowing after a peak in mid-August. Data released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national total since the beginning of the pandemic to 24,805 infections and 434 deaths. Fifty-eight of the new cases were reported in the Seoul metropolitan area, while 33 were related to international arrivals.
– Taiwan says it has diagnosed coronavirus in a Taiwanese citizen returning from China for the first time since February. The patient reported having a runny nose and cough to quarantine officials upon his arrival in Taiwan on Sunday, Central Epidemic Command Center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang said Tuesday. Chuang said the man had worked in the eastern province of Jiangsu, which, according to the Chinese National Health Commission, has not reported recent cases of local transmission of the virus. He said Taiwan’s last case of a person bringing the virus from China was on February 6. Taiwan has taken strong steps to halt the spread of COVID-19, but has since relaxed many of them to allow schools and businesses to reopen. The island has reported 530 cases, the vast majority of which were brought from outside, with seven deaths and 34 people currently being treated. China, where the pandemic is believed to have originated, reported its first cases of local transmission in recent months over the weekend: 12 people in the northern port city of Qingdao.
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