CHINA: On Monday, China reported 55 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. An outbreak of the super-spreader Delta variant reached over 20 cities and other provinces. Due to the sudden outbreak, millions of people were confined to their homes in the country.
China is trying to contain its largest COVID-19 outbreak in months with mass testing and travel restrictions.
Local governments in major cities have tested millions of residents and placed close contacts under quarantine.
Delta variant challenges China’s defenses
According to the reports, Zhuzhou in Hunan province ordered over 1.2 million residents to stay home under strict lockdown for the next three days. Beijing has previously boasted of its success in bringing domestic cases down to virtually zero after COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan.
“The situation is still grim and complicated,” the Zhuzhou government said.
Meanwhile, many cases have emerged in the tourist destination Zhangjiajie where many of the cases have emerged.
Chinese health officials are now trying to track down about 5,000 people who attended a theatre program in Zhangjiajie. One performance alone had hosted about 2,000 people, according to reports.
All attractions in the city have been closed for an indefinite period. “Zhangjiajie has now become the new ground zero for China’s epidemic spread,” Zhong Nanshan, China’s leading respiratory disease expert, said.
The new COVID-19 outbreak has reached Beijing too, with the city reporting several locally transmitted infections.
The outbreak has raised concerns about vaccines as it emerged that some of those infected had been vaccinated.
Shao Yiming, a researcher with China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said that breakthrough infections in vaccinated people “are expected”.
Sinovac and Sinopharm’s vaccines are 50% to 79% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection in clinical trials around the world.