Qingdao punishes 2 officials over cluster

BEIJING • The Chinese city of Qingdao yesterday said it had suspended its health commission head and sacked a hospital director following an outbreak of coronavirus infections that ended China's run of about two months without reporting a local case.

The head of the hospital, Dr Deng Kai, was fired yesterday. The local health bureau said he had been "removed from office" and was "under further investigation", but did not give details.

The head of the city's health bureau, Mr Sui Zhenhua, was also "suspended from the post" and placed under investigation. Beijing's National Health Commission has not offered any details on why Mr Sui was suspended.

The port city in eastern Shandong province has reported 13 recent infections, most of them linked to the Qingdao Chest Hospital where infected travellers arriving from overseas had been treated in an isolation area.

One of the cases involved a dock worker who had earlier tested positive for the virus but developed symptoms only after about 20 days, the city said.

Almost 10 million residents in Qingdao have now been screened for the coronavirus, officials said yesterday.

Deputy Mayor Luan Xin said more than 9.9 million samples had been collected and 7.6 million results returned, adding that no new cases had been found.

The coastal city has now confirmed 13 cases, Mr Luan told a regular briefing yesterday, adding that health workers were on track to complete testing 9.4 million residents and another 1.5 million visitors by today - just five days after the mass testing programme was launched.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China stands at 85,622, with 4,634 deaths.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2020, with the headline Qingdao punishes 2 officials over cluster. Subscribe