Biggest Covid Delta outbreak hits university town in China



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China is facing its biggest surge of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, putting the zero-case policy to the test. Restrictions were imposed on a university town in the country’s northeast.

More than 10,000 students were placed under quarantine after two large dorms were closed down in the university town of Zhuanghe, which is under the administration of the city of Dalian in the coastal province of Liaoning in northeastern China

Overall, more than 230 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in Dalian, a city of 7.45 million people, since November 4, health officials said. Rushing to uphold its zero-case strategy, authorities ramped up restrictions, including road closures, and launched a citywide mass testing campaign.

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The outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant has been linked to companies that store and handle frozen food, while another cluster of infections was discovered at a student campus, Chinese media said.

Wu Liangyou, the deputy director of the National Health Commission’s disease control and prevention division, said on Sunday that the outbreak in Dalian was “at a stalemate” and the virus had not spread to other areas.

Thanks to a combination of vigorous lockdowns, contact tracing and mass testing, China managed to largely contain the spread of Covid-19 during the early months of 2020. Since then, authorities have been fighting to curb virus hotspots appearing in different parts of the country.

According to a calculation by Reuters based on official data, 1,308 locally transmitted symptomatic cases were recorded in China between October 17 and November 14, compared to 1,280 such cases during the Delta wave in the summer.

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