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Anhui steps up COVID prevention after local cases emerge

By ZHU LIXIN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-15 07:21
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Students at a middle school in Lu'an, Anhui province, undergo nucleic acid testing on Friday. CHEN LI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Central and provincial health authorities are taking protective measures like tracking more close contacts of infected patients and preventing further transmissions after East China's Anhui and Northeast China's Liaoning provinces reported six locally transmitted COVID-19 cases from Thursday to Friday.

As of Friday evening, Anhui and Liaoning had four and two confirmed cases, in addition to one and three asymptomatic cases, respectively, all locally transmitted, according to press conferences by the local health authorities. So far, Anhui's Hefei and Lu'an cities both reported two confirmed cases, according to the local health commissions.

A woman surnamed Zhang, who works in a photography studio in Lu'an, tested positive for the novel coronavirus early on Thursday morning at a hospital. The positive result was confirmed later in the afternoon, said the Lu'an health commission.

Tracking of Zhang's close contacts led to the discovery of another infected person surnamed Li in Hefei by Thursday afternoon. Li traveled by plane on May 1 from Dalian in northeastern China's Liaoning province to Hefei, and then arrived at Lu'an by bus for a photography training in Zhang's studio. She left Lu'an for Hefei's Feixi county on May 8 and had been staying in a local hotel, the Hefei health commission said.

The third Anhui case was a woman surnamed Lyu who was Li's colleague and shared a hotel room with her in Feixi after arriving from Beijing on May 10. She was confirmed on Friday morning as being infected.

The fourth case of the province, a man working in the Lu'an studio and remaining in the city recently, was found related to Zhang and Li, said the Anhui provincial health commission on Friday evening.

The National Health Commission has sent a team of experts to guide the province in conducting epidemiological investigation and nucleic acid testing and preventing transmission in communities and hospitals, the central authorities said.

Both Li and Lyu had travel history recently in Bayuquan district of Yingkou, Liaoning province, the Yingkou health committee said in a statement earlier on Friday.

The press conference by Yingkou health commission in the evening reported two confirmed and three asymptomatic cases.

The Yingkou government has imposed lockdown measures in Bayuquan district and restricted travel to and from the area, unless absolutely necessary. Those who do need to leave the area must offer a negative result for a nucleic acid test conducted within the past 72 hours.

Nine neighborhoods in Yingkou have been classified as medium-risk areas by Friday evening.

A shopping center and residential community in the area have been classified as medium-risk after massive testing for the coronavirus commenced in Lu'an city on Thursday. The hotel building, where Li and Lyu stayed, has also been classified as medium-risk for infections, said Zhang Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Hefei health commission.

Residents of Feixi county and the Yu'an district of Lu'an, where the cases were found, were seen lining up in their communities on Thursday night to receive tests and vaccinations.

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