China reports 76 new Covid-19 cases, Nanjing starts second mass testing

People line up during a citywide mass testing following new cases of the coronavirus in Nanjing, China on July 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China reported 76 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday (July 25), the highest since the end of January amid a surge of local infections in the eastern city of Nanjing, as it starts a second round of mass testing to contain the outbreak.

China has taken a zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 cases, quickly tracing and testing wide swathes of its population to prevent the spread of the virus.

Local infections accounted for 40 of the new cases, compared with only five a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Monday.

Thirty-nine of the local cases were reported in the eastern province of Jiangsu, and one in the north-eastern province of Liaoning, it said.

Of the 39 cases, 38 were detected in Nanjing, and one in Suqian city, the provincial government said on its website.

As of the end of July 25, Nanjing had reported a total of 75 local cases since its latest outbreak emerged last week, a health official said in a news briefing on Monday.

Taxis and cars on ride-hailing platforms should not leave the city, and eight long-distance shuttle bus stations will be suspended from July 27, Nanjing authorities said on Monday on social media.

The number of new asymptomatic cases - which China does not classify as confirmed cases - rose to 24 from 17 cases a day earlier.

Among the symptomless cases, four were local infections - one in Jiangsu, one in Guangdong, one in Jiangsu's neighbouring province of Anhui, and one in Sichuan province.

Many of the positive cases in the first round of testing last week were in an area close to the Lukou International Airport.

The city has suspended a subway line linking the airport and a train station and taken other measures to control the new cluster.

Nanjing was conducting a second round of nucleic acid testing of its 9.3 million residents on Sunday, the official China Daily said on Monday.

The city raised its Covid risk level in one area to high, while changing other areas to a medium risk level, the paper added.

The move comes after it suspended its subway line and took other measures to control the new cluster.

Total confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China stand at 92,605, and the death toll remains at 4,636.

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