China reports no new local Covid-19 cases for first time since July

Residents queueing for Covid-19 testing in Nanjing, in China's eastern Jiangsu province, on Aug 5.
Residents queueing for Covid-19 testing in Nanjing, in China's eastern Jiangsu province, on Aug 5.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China’s health authority reported on Monday (Aug 23) that there were no new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 for the first time since July, offering more signs that the current outbreak which began late last month may be tapering off soon.

The latest outbreak was driven mainly by infections first detected among a few airport workers in the eastern city of Nanjing on July 20.

Since then, more than 1,200 people in China have been confirmed to be infected.

The outbreak has spurred the local authorities across the country to impose tough counter-epidemic measures, including mass testing for millions of people to identify and isolate carriers, as well as to treat the infected.

No one has died in the current outbreak, which has largely affected the cities of Nanjing and Yangzhou in the province of Jiangsu, near the financial hub of Shanghai.

Across China, new local cases fell to the single-digits last week, after peaking in early August.

But over the weekend, Shanghai placed hundreds of people under quarantine after infections were found in cargo workers at one of its two airports, sparking concerns of a fresh outbreak in the city.

Shanghai has reported no new local infections since then.

Including new infections detected among travellers arriving in mainland China, the National Health Commission on Monday reported a total of 21 new confirmed cases for Sunday, down from 32 a day earlier.

China reported 16 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections until they show signs of infection such as a fever.

That is down from 19 a day earlier. The new asymptomatic cases were all imported.

Mainland China as at Sunday had recorded 94,652 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 4,636, unchanged since late January.