Posted October 12, 2020 1:28 pm by

China to test whole city of 9m as Europe rolls out new virus rules

The virus has been largely brought under control in China © AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI

Beijing, China, Oct 12 – All nine million people in a major Chinese port city will be tested for Covid-19 following a tiny outbreak, health officials said Monday, as surging infection numbers in Europe force another round of containment efforts.

The virus has been largely brought under control in China — where it first emerged last year — in stark contrast to many parts of the world still afflicted by rolling lockdowns and high case numbers.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday announce a new three-tiered alert system for coronavirus cases in England, while German authorities shuttered Berlin bars and clubs after 11pm until the end of the month and France is believed to be mulling local lockdowns in major cities.

In the United States — the world’s worst-affected nation with 7.7 million infections and 214,000 deaths — President Donald Trump controversially declared himself immune after his treatment at a Washington hospital last week.

Six cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Sunday in Qingdao — a northeastern port city of 9.4 million — prompting health officials to announce China’s first mass testing in months.

Five districts will be tested “within three days” and the whole city “within five days”, a statement from Qingdao’s municipal health commission said, although it did not give a precise figure on how many people would be tested.

China to test whole city of 9m as Europe rolls out new virus rules

Map showing Qingdao in China where authorities aim to test more than nine million residents within five days following a minor coronavirus outbreak. © AFP / John SAEKI

China has extensive, quick test capabilities and by noon Monday the health commission said more than 277,000 people had already been tested in Qingdao, with nine positive results.

In June large areas of the capital Beijing were subject to mass tests after the city of more than 20 million detected virus cases linked to a food market.

China has bounced back since the virus emerged, closing the country down and hammering the world’s second largest economy.

Hundreds of millions travelled across the country for the “Golden Week” holiday last week as the country edges back to growth, while rapid tests and swift lockdowns have tamped down secondary waves of the virus.

The picture elsewhere in the world, however, is strikingly different as countries battle new waves and alarming spikes.

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