A citizen reacts to a throat swab during a mass covid test in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province on Monday, Jan.
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GUANGZHOU, China – The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has not reported any new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since a new group of cases emerged in May.
The recent surge in cases led to mass tests and lockdowns, and also threatened world trade.
On Tuesday, health officials found no new confirmed cases in Guangzhou, a city of over 15 million people that became China’s new Covid hotspot.
The first new case, a 75-year-old woman, was discovered on May 21. It was the first time the Delta variant of the virus, first identified in India, was detected in China.
Authorities were concerned about the highly transferable nature of the variant and acted quickly.
Liwan in western Guangzhou had parts of the district cordoned off. People were only allowed to enter or leave these areas under special circumstances. Some restaurants have had to close, while others are only open for take-out or have reduced capacity.
Health workers lined the streets of Guangzhou to conduct mass tests for the coronavirus on the population. Ten million people have been tested in the past two weeks.
In the meantime, the Guangzhou police have fined and detained people who allegedly violated the law, including:
The outbreak in Guangzhou, which threatened to spread to Guangdong Province, an economic and trading power, has also affected shipping. Reinforced controls and virus prevention measures have resulted in delays at Guangdong’s main shipping ports, with experts warning that it could disrupt the global supply chain.
Authorities have also urged people in Guangdong Province and across China to get vaccinated. Over 900 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
While a day with no new cases is a positive development, authorities hope it can be sustained so that they can eventually fully reopen the local economy and take areas out of lockdown.
On Wednesday, Chen Bin, deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission, said, according to comments from local media, that zero cases “does not mean zero risk”. The authorities have continuously urged citizens to remain cautious and continue to wear masks and reduce unnecessary social contacts.