COVID-19 in China: more than 10 million screened in 4 days in Qingdao

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Beijing | More than 10 million people have already been tested in four days in Qingdao (east), a Chinese metropolis which organizes an express screening after the discovery of a mini-outbreak of coronavirus, authorities said Thursday.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

The campaign that began on Sunday, which authorities hope to complete in five days, has so far resulted in the collection of 10.5 million samples, Sui Ruwen, a vice mayor of the city, told reporters.

He assured that no additional positive case had been detected among the 8.8 million results already obtained. The toll of this source of infection is currently 13 patients with COVID-19, according to the authorities.

In total, they intend to screen by Friday 9.4 million inhabitants and 1.5 million visitors. Qingdao is a seaside and tourist city, known throughout the world for its “Tsingtao” beer.

The testing campaign was launched after the discovery last weekend of several positive cases linked to the city’s Chest Hospital, which was caring for COVID-19 patients arriving from abroad.

The 13 cases of local transmission identified so far in Qingdao, the first since mid-August in China, have in any case already caused the first victims at the level of the authorities.

The director of the Thoracic Hospital “has been sacked and is the subject of an investigation,” the municipal health commission said Thursday, without providing details.

Most cases are linked to this establishment, according to the authorities, who are still trying to find out how the outbreak may have arisen.

The director of the Qingdao health commission, responsible for medical care in the city, was also “suspended”.

China, where the virus was spotted in December, says it has largely contained the epidemic on its soil. It only reports a handful of new patients each day, almost all from abroad.

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