China's Qingdao orders city-wide COVID-19 testing following new infections

China's Qingdao orders city-wide COVID-19 testing following new infections

China reported a new cluster of coronavirus infections in the eastern port city of Qingdao, snapping a streak of over two months without local transmission and underscoring the risk of resurgence in countries that have achieved near-eradication of the pathogen.

Qingdao health authorities made a decision to test the entire city after six coronary infections were diagnosed at a local hospital on Sunday. Wuhan tested its entire population, and mass schemes involving several million samples have also been conducted in Beijing and Urumqi.

The cases were first reported on Sunday, and health officials say 140,000 employees, patients and personnel linked to the hospital have already been tested.

All cases are linked to the same hospital, the Global Times said.

The testing would cover the city in five days, the city said.

"The whole city will be tested within five days", it said on its social media account.

The Chinese authorities now have a strategy of mass testing even when a new coronavirus cluster appears to be relatively minor, correspondents said.

The outbreak was detected immediately after the "Golden Week" holiday, when hundreds of millions travelled across China, leading to fears the infections could have spread beyond the city.

According to The Paper's report, Jinan, a nearby city in provinces like Qingdao, has asked everyone who has visited the city since September 23 to be tested for the virus. The country has claimed to have largely controlled the infection. However, they are not known to infect others.

China now has 85,578 virus cases and the death toll stands at 4,634.

A national eight-day holiday period that just concluded saw 637 million trips made domestically, 80% of the level from a year ago, reflecting the country's confidence that mass travel with few restrictions won't result in uncontrollable new flareups.

However, the BBC's Reality Check later estimated that the figure was closer to 9 million over 10 days - still a significant number of people.

Hundreds of test centers have been opened and thousands of test staff have participated.

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