Sunday, October 17

In China, the worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the start of the year

China is undergoing the worst Covid-19 epidemic recovery of 2021, with the appearance of new sources of contamination with the Delta variant of the coronavirus in several provinces. According to the official report, 71 new cases of local origin were identified on Wednesday, August 4. This is the highest daily number since January.

More than half of these cases come from Jiangsu Province. The cluster behind this takeover appeared in its capital, Nanjing, among employees responsible for cleaning planes at the airport.

More than 400 cases form this epidemic resumption, which remain mainly confined in this province. But, little by little, other cases are appearing in more distant agglomerations: officially, so far, in 35 cities located in 17 provinces.

Read our survey: The silences of China, a virus spotted in 2013, the false trail of the pangolin … Investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2

Restricted travel, in China and abroad

Police officers disinfect the streets of Nanjing on August 4.

The Chinese authorities, who claimed to have come to the end of the epidemic thanks to a massive vaccination (1.6 billion doses administered), strict distancing measures and rapid tests of several million people as soon as the slightest case is detected, have quickly implemented more drastic measures for several days to prevent the displacement of the population.

Travel between provinces is thus discouraged, and public transport suspended in those considered to be very risky.

The 9 million inhabitants of Nanjing have been tested three times, while the 11 million citizens of Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic, are on the way to being tested. According to the Associated Press, the first results show that some of the cases detected in Wuhan are similar to those in Jiangsu province, and are thought to be caused by the highly transmissible variant Delta.

The city of Yangzhou (40 cases detected for 4.5 million inhabitants) and the very touristy city of Zhangjiajie (1.4 million inhabitants) have been confined respectively since Monday and Sunday. In the second, where 19 cases have been identified, no one, whether tourist or resident, can leave the city. In Beijing, where 3 cases were reported Wednesday, the 21 million residents are encouraged not to leave the city unless there is a compelling reason, and most long-distance trains have been canceled.

Read also Massive screenings and containment of millions of people: China is doing everything to prevent a resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic

The Chinese regime also announced on Wednesday that it would temporarily “Stop issuing passports and other documents” necessary for overseas travel for Chinese nationals, according to an official of the immigration office, Liu Haitao. The measure only applies to Chinese nationals, “Unless there is a compelling reason”, and the duration of its application is not known.

Since the appearance of the epidemic on its territory, a year and a half ago, the official toll, but disputed, in China has been established at 4,634 deaths and more than 93,000 cases.

Read the analysis: How China is waging an information war to rewrite the origins of the pandemic

Le Monde with AFP, AP and Reuters

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