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Shijiazhuang to resume normal order as infections ebb

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | | Updated: 2022-11-30 20:47
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A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid testing in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, on Nov 21, 2022. [Photo/ThePaper]

Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, will gradually resume normal production and life order starting Thursday as the chain of transmission during an ongoing COVID-19 epidemic has been basically cut, a top official of the city said at a news conference on Wednesday night.

"Positive cases detected from the community level have been reduced continuously, but there's still a small number of cases being detected at the community level," Mayor Ma Yujun said.

According to Ma, the city has undergone five rounds of mass nucleic acid testing in six major districts during the past 10 days, a period when residents were advised to stay at home.

As of 5 pm on Wednesday, a total of 10,357 positive cases were detected, he said.

"As for the number of new infections, there was a peak during the second round of testing, while from the third round there has been a gradual decrease, especially at the community level," he said.

The districts include Qiaoxi, Chang'an and Yuhua and will implement differentiated epidemic prevention and control measures when restoring order, he added.

Service industries closely related to people's lives will be opened up in an orderly manner, including shopping malls, supermarkets and hotels. But restaurants will continue to suspend dine-in services for another week, Ma said.

The virus responsible for this outbreak belongs to the Omicron subvariant BA.5.2, which spreads fast and is highly contagious, said Zhao Yubin, head of Shijiazhuang People's Hospital, also leader of an expert team for the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The subvariant is one of the most transmissible strains and easy to cause a large range of infections, Zhao said. But it's less virulent compared with former strains.

He added most of the infected in the city were asymptomatic carriers.

The city recorded 15 confirmed cases and 393 asymptomatic carriers on Wednesday, down for the fifth consecutive day from its daily peak on Nov 24, when the city recorded more than 3,000 infections.

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