Millions of people were tested for COVID-19 in several major cities in China on Sunday as the country tries to stem the rise in unprecedented coronavirus cases over the months.
China reported 75 new infections on Sunday.
The outbreak, which appeared at Nanjing Airport (east) in late July, has now spread to more than twenty cities and more than ten provinces.
China has been facing the worst wave of pollution in several months due to the increase in cases against the Delta variant.
Although the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, China has largely controlled the epidemic ever since.
Of the 9.2 million residents in Nanjing, authorities conducted three massive screenings and restricted hundreds of thousands to curb pollution.
The current outbreak of the virus is linked to the high epidemic of the Delta variant and the peak of the tourist season in the country, which could lead to overuse of Chinese aviation, officials said.
Authorities want those who went to Nanjing, a tourist town in Ngongjiajie in Hunan Province.
The tourist city was limited to 1.5 million people on Friday.
According to health officials, the small-scale infection registered in Ngangjiaji was caused by travelers from Nanjing and has helped spread the disease to more than 20 cities.
“Hangzhouji has now become a new starting point for the spread of the epidemic in China,” virologist Zhang Nanshan told reporters on Saturday.
“We need to expand the search for contact cases of the Delta variant.”
Beijing on Sunday reported three local pollution cases: a family living on the outskirts of the capital returning from Ngjiajie, the Beijing Health Office said.
The capital has cut all its rail, road and air links with areas where coronavirus cases have been identified.
Beijing also closed its doors to tourists and allowed only “essential travelers” who tested negative.
New cases were reported Sunday in Hainan Island, another popular tourist destination, as well as in Ningxia (northern) and Shandong (eastern) provinces, officials said.
The country is also battling a rise in cases in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province – after two maintenance workers at a hospital who tested positive for patients from foreign carriers of COVID-19 – recently devastated by deadly floods.
In the city, 27 local cases were registered, and authorities ordered Sunday to test its 10 million people.
After learning that some patients had been vaccinated, Chinese health officials said it was “normal” and reiterated the importance of the vaccine and the strict measures.
“Due to the delta variant, vaccine protection may be somewhat reduced, but the current vaccine still has a good preventive and protective effect against the delta variant,” said Feng Jijian, virologist at the China Center for Control and Prevention of Diseases.
The world’s most populous country handled 1.65 billion doses on Saturday (alone “Made in China2), but without specifying how many residents were fully vaccinated.