Parts of China’s Wuhan city locked down after COVID-19 cases confirmed

Aug 04 , 2021. 14 hours ago – 19:50 KYODO NEWS

Photo shows a shopping street crowded with people in Wuhan, China, on April 4, 2021, about one year after the world’s first coronavirus lockdown was lifted in the city around two and a half months after its imposition. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

BEIJING – China’s central city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, has locked down certain areas after local authorities confirmed new infection cases for the first time in around one year, state-run media reported Tuesday.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, will conduct citywide COVID-19 nucleic acid testing, the official China Global Television Network quoted the authorities as saying, with Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. saying it has suspended production at its factory there.

The Chinese government has taken radical “zero corona” steps, such as compelling foreign visitors to be quarantined at designated facilities for at least 14 days, to keep the epidemic under control.

But the virus has recently begun raging again at home, with the Delta variant first identified in India spreading, sparking fears about the outlook for the broader economy. In late May, some people in the southern city of Guangzhou were infected with the variant.

In Wuhan, the lockdown that had suddenly started from Jan. 23 last year was lifted 76 days after it was imposed. The authorities had suspended all public transportation services and significantly restricted the movements of citizens.

The local government also rushed to bolster its capacity to cope with the virus outbreak, including building more hospitals. After the lockdown, it carried out virus tests on almost all of the city’s 11 million residents.

The United States and other democratic nations, meanwhile, have promoted the theory that the virus may be traced back to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, claiming some researchers there developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 in the fall of 2019.

China has argued that its joint study with the World Health Organization on the origin concluded it is extremely unlikely that the virus escaped from the laboratory.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Hubei Province reported three new locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and six asymptomatic cases on Monday.

All the locally transmitted confirmed cases were registered in Wuhan. Among the asymptomatic cases, five were discovered in the city, the news agency added.

The Chinese mainland recorded 90 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, with 61 being local transmissions and 29 from overseas, CGTN said on Tuesday, citing the country’s National Health Commission.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the mainland reached 93,193, with the death toll unchanged at 4,636, according to the commission.

In Beijing, the municipal authorities have also locked down some areas of the nation’s capital, around where an infected case was detected late last month.