China plans to test nearly 9 million people for coronavirus within five days, following an outbreak in the port city of Qingdao. This is after 9 new cases related to a hospital were discovered, the government announced on Monday.
This announcement follows a two-month streak with no virus transmissions reported within China, although China has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases.
Authorities are investigating the source of the infections in eight patients at Qingdao’s Municipal Chest Hospital and one family member, the National Health Commission stated.
“The whole city will be tested within five days,” it said on its social media account.
Around 114,862 people, including medical staff and newly hospitalised patients in the city, had already tested negative, Qingdao’s health commission announced.
Videos circulating online depicted citizens lining up late on Sunday to get tested, said the Global Times. It is reported that some of the test points remainde open from 7am to 11pm.
The new cases come a week after China’s Golden Week holiday, during which millions travelled across the country. According to a Global Times report, the Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism said the coastal city had received 4.47 million passenger trips during the holiday period.
The ruling Communist Party has lifted most curbs on travel and business but still monitors travellers and visitors to public buildings for signs of infection. In April, it lifted restrictions that cut off access to cities with a total of around 60 million people, including Wuhan in central China.
The last reported COVID-19 cases within China were four patients found on Aug. 15 in the north-western city of Urumqi in the Xinjiang region. All the cases reported since then were in travellers from beyond the mainland.
In May, China had tested the entire city of Wuhan, comprising 11 million people, which was epicentre of the global pandemic. Since then, the country has largely brought the virus under control.
Travellers arriving from abroad in China still are required to undergo a two-week quarantine.