China's Suzhou city reports Covid-19 cases for second day

The case number is small, but thousands of people have been quarantined, in line with national policy. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The Chinese industrial hub Suzhou on Wednesday (Feb 16) reported new Covid-19 cases for a second day, and authorities further restricted highway access while ramping up testing, having already detected cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The city in the eastern province of Jiangsu reported 18 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, up from eight a day earlier, the data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed.

The case number is small compared with many outbreaks overseas, but Suzhou government, in line with the national policy to contain outbreaks as quickly as possible, has quarantined thousands of people, closed various entertainment businesses and urged residents to reduce trips to outside the city.

The city authority announced it was closing 18 more highway entrances from Wednesday, after closing 15 a day earlier, state television reported. Anyone leaving by train would have to show proof of a negative test result within 48 hours. These measures were to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to other nearby cities.

Suzhou Industrial Park, which hosts about 100,000 companies and accommodates manufacturing facilities of many multinational firms, began a second round of mass testing on Wednesday, according to state television.

Including Suzhou cases, mainland China reported 46 locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms, the NHC said, compared with 40 a day earlier.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

As of Feb 15, mainland China had 107,196 cases with confirmed symptoms since the epidemic began in late 2019.

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