More places enhance steps amid new Nanjing outbreak

NANJING: The COVID-19 outbreak in Nanjing, capital of East China’s Jiangsu Province, continues to escalate at an unpredicted speed due to the high population flow of the airport and the strong transmission capacity of the Delta variant.
While calling for the city to enhance anti-epidemic measures and accelerate epidemiological surveys, Chinese experts are also taking the outbreak as an example of how some Chinese cities have become slack at anti-epidemic work.
Jiangsu reported 48 new confirmed cases and one asymptomatic case on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections in the province to 159 since July 20. Wang Hecheng, a deputy director of the National Health Commission and director of the national administration of disease prevention and control, has arrived in Jiangsu to guide the anti-epidemic work.
The infections in Nanjing were nearly all found in areas near the Lukou International Airport, where the outbreak started, Nanjing health authority official Yang Dasuo said on Wednesday at a press conference.
Nanjing kicked off the third round of citywide nucleic acid tests on Wednesday.
Jin Dongyan, a biomedical professor at the University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Wednesday that based on the information released by the Nanjing health authority, no large-scale case of transmission at a gathering has been found in the city.
But Nanjing should conduct and release more detailed epidemiological surveys on the existing cases, especially early cases detected at the airport, to find out how the first people got infected and how they transmitted the virus to others, such as by eating together or touching the same items, Jin suggested.
Only under this circumstance can the airport take specific measures to close the loopholes, he said.
Medical experts previously told the media that most of the cases in Nanjing had been vaccinated. However, the local authority revealed Wednesday that four of the cases in Nanjing had been classified as critical, which made netizens worry over the efficacy of vaccines.
Zhuang Shilihe, a Guangzhou-based expert, said that it is still not clear whether the four people had been vaccinated, and previous research had proven that vaccines were still the best method of preventing critical cases.
Zhuang estimated that the outbreak in Nanjing would last at least another two weeks, after comparing it with a previous outbreak in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.
According to media reports, about 90 percent of the workers at the airport in Nanjing, or 5,036 people, had been vaccinated as of May.
Other cities in Jiangsu are reinforcing anti-pandemic measures. Suzhou has set up 18 highway checkpoints to check the health status of drivers coming from Nanjing. Suzhou has also suspended all passenger road transportation, including buses and taxis, with Nanjing.
The total number of cases related to the Nanjing outbreak has surpassed 170. Besides Jiangsu, cases have been reported in at least 10 cities in five provinces, including South China’s Guangdong and Southwest China’s Sichuan.
– The Daily Mail-Global Times News exchange item