GUANGZHOU/BEIJING • An imported coronavirus variant case has been detected in southern China's Guangdong province, the provincial centre for disease control and prevention said yesterday.
The individual is an 18-year-old Chinese national who studies in Britain. He arrived in provincial capital Guangzhou from Britain on Dec 4 last year and was quarantined immediately. He tested positive for the coronavirus and was diagnosed as a confirmed mild Covid-19 case on Dec 18.
Gene sequencing analysis on Dec 27 showed that the patient had the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which highly resembles the strain recently reported in Britain. The variant was confirmed following a high-throughput sequencing double-check on Saturday.
According to the centre, the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has a stronger transmission capacity but its symptoms, fatality rate and the risk of severe cases are basically the same. The vaccines that have been developed are also effective against the new strain.
The youth is under further medical observation after being discharged from hospital.
The Chinese mainland reported 16 new imported Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of imported cases to 4,303, the National Health Commission said in its daily report yesterday.
Six new imported cases were reported in Shanghai, two each in the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Shaanxi, and one each in Beijing, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia and Liaoning, the commission said.
Among all the imported cases, 4,024 have been discharged from hospital after recovery while 279 remain hospitalised. No deaths have been reported among the imported cases.
Meanwhile, two universities in Beijing announced on Saturday that the winter vacation will start earlier than usual, in an effort to reduce the pressure of Covid-19 control on campus.
Deputy party secretary Guo Yong from Tsinghua University said the winter vacation for undergraduate students would last from Jan 11 to Feb 21. Graduate students and teachers engaged in teaching and research work are required to take the vacation between Jan 14 and Feb 19.
The school will strictly implement epidemic control measures on campus. Visitors are required to show healthy green codes or nucleic acid test certificates negative for Covid-19 before entering the school, Professor Guo said.
Mr Zhu Guanghao, deputy party secretary of Beijing International Studies University, said the school started arranging for students to leave for winter vacations in batches on Dec 14 and last Thursday.
The Chinese capital has tightened measures to tackle Covid-19, as 25 locally transmitted confirmed cases were reported between Dec 18 and last Friday. By Saturday, the city had designated seven areas as medium risk.