The Chinese government announced, Monday, that Chinese health authorities will test all 9 million people in the eastern city of Qingdao for the Corona virus this week after discovering nine hospital-related cases.
The announcement broke a two-month streak with no transmission of viruses reported within China, although China has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases. The ruling Communist Party lifted most restrictions on travel and business, but was still monitoring travelers and visitors to public buildings for signs of infection.
The National Health Commission said that the authorities are investigating the source of the infection in eight patients at Qingdao Municipal Chest Hospital and a family member.
“The whole city will be tested within five days,” she said on her social media account.
China, where the epidemic emerged in December, has reported 4,634 deaths and 85,578 cases, in addition to nine suspected cases that have yet to be confirmed.
The last reported transmission of the virus within China was four patients, which were found on August 15 in the northwestern city of Urumqi in Xinjiang region. All cases reported since then have been of travelers from outside the mainland.
The ruling party lifted measures in April that cut most access to cities with a total population of about 60 million, including Wuhan in central China.
Qingdao is a busy port with corporate headquarters including Haier, a major hardware maker, and the Tsingtao brewery. The government did not say whether the latest cases were linked to travel or trade.
Passengers arriving from overseas to China are still required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
On other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
India reported 66,732 cases of novel coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total number to 7.1 million. On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported 816 deaths during the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 109,150. India has seen fewer daily new cases of the virus since mid-September when daily infections reached a record high of 9,7894. The average number of cases is over 70,000 per day so far this month. Health experts have warned that rallies during major festivals later this month and in November have the potential to spread the virus. They also warned that the coming winter months were expected to exacerbate respiratory diseases.
Authorities in the Indonesian capital have moved to ease draconian social restrictions despite a steady increase in cases nationwide. Jakarta imposed widespread social restrictions from April to June, then relaxed them gradually. The city reinstated strict restrictions last month as the virus spread. Jakarta Governor Anis Baswedan said his administration has decided to ease restrictions from Monday due to the stability increase in infections. The move came days after President Joko Widodo urged local administrations to refrain from imposing lockdown measures that could cause crippling economic damage to the largest economy in Southeast Asia.
– Sri Lankan officials say they have suspended the repatriation of citizens stranded abroad due to the Coronavirus because quarantine facilities in the country are full. Army Commander Shavendra Silva, who heads the task force for virus control, says the sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in the past week has filled quarantine facilities. Sri Lanka announced earlier that it had successfully contained the virus, with no local infections reported for two months. But a conglomerate that sprang up at a garment factory earlier this month led to 1,307 new cases in just one week. The country has reported a total of 4,791 cases, including 13 deaths.
– South Korea confirmed 97 new cases of coronavirus, a modest increase from the daily levels reported last week. The increase comes as officials relax restrictions on social distancing after they concluded that transfers had slowed after a resurgence in mid-August. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday bring the number of infections since the start of the epidemic to 24,703, including 433 deaths. South Korea relaxed its social distancing guidelines from Monday, allowing high-risk businesses such as nightclubs and karaoke bars to open as long as they use preventive measures. Spectators will also be permitted at professional sporting events, although teams will initially be allowed to sell only 30% of the seats in the stadiums.