Several eastern Chinese areas in mass Covid-19 testing to curb new waves of infections

China reported a total of 380 new local infections for July 3, of which 41 were symptomatic and 339 were asymptomatic. PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS, AFP) - Parts of eastern China are running fresh rounds of mass Covid-19 testing, as the country faces new waves of infections while recovering from impact of the spring outbreaks that hit Beijing and Shanghai.

China continues to demand local authorities detect and contain new infections as soon as possible in its "dynamic Covid zero" strategy, although it has warned against expanding strict curbs unnecessarily as it struggles to revive the economy.

Daily numbers of locally transmitted infections in mainland China increased to more than 300 over the weekend compared with a few dozens in late June. Local officials have closed some businesses and locked down more than a million people.

In the eastern province of Anhui, which reported most of China's local cases in the latest flare-up, its provincial capital Hefei said late on Sunday it is doing citywide testing every three days, after last month briefly scrapping weekly test requirements.

Anhui's Si town, where its 760,000 residents were told to stay home except for going out to do Covid-19 tests, mandated citywide testing on Monday (July 4), its seventh round of mass testing.

Lingbi town, also in Anhui, locked down its nearly 1 million residents and said it had cancelled an event for local businesses to meet government officials.

Anhui province reported 287 new infections on Monday (July 4), including 258 people who had no symptoms, according to China’s National Health Commission, bringing the total cases found to just over 1,000.

Neighbouring Jiangsu province also reported 56 new local infections across four cities on Monday. 

Photos shared widely online, verified by AFP Fact Check, showed hundreds of people in hazmat suits lining up in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu, appearing to be waiting for buses to quarantine facilities.

Some of the shots showed babies in blue protective clothing carried by people with suitcases waiting outside a hospital in sweltering heat. Temperatures in Wuxi have recently reached up to 36 deg C.

In the south-eastern province of Fujian, the Jiaocheng district and the town of Xiapu in the city of Ningde ran mass testing on Sunday.

Ningde, where the world's largest battery maker CATL is headquartered, reported 10 domestically transmitted Covid-19 infections for Sunday, data from Fujian health authority showed on Monday.

Infections were also detected in the provinces of Liaoning, Shandong, Shaanxi, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Sichuan, as well as in the city of Shanghai.

There were no new deaths, keeping the nation's reported fatalities at 5,226.

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