People line up for nucleic acid testing at a residential compound following local cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dalian, Liaoning province, China
China is battling the spread of its biggest COVID-19 outbreak caused by the Delta variant, according to numbers announced on Monday, with travellers from a city where infections have grown faster than elsewhere in the country subject to tough quarantine rules in nearby areas.
Chinese authorities said 32 new domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms have been reported for Nov. 14, most of which were in northeastern Dalian city. That brings the tally of local cases since Oct. 17 to 1,308, Reuters calculations based on official data showed, surpassing the 1,280 local cases from a summer Delta outbreak.
This marks China's most widespread Delta outbreak, which has affected 21 provinces, regions and municipalities. While it is smaller than many outbreaks in other countries, Chinese authorities are anxious to block any further transmissions under the government's zero-tolerance guidance.
A dozen province-level regions contained their flare-ups within weeks in the current outbreak, thanks to quick implementation of a complex set of curbs, including rigorous contact tracing, multiple rounds of testing of people in at risk areas, the closure of entertainment and cultural venues and restrictions on tourism and public transport.
However, Dalian remains locked in a struggle with the virus, Wu Liangyou, an official at the National Health Commission has said.
Since Dalian's first local symptomatic patients from the latest outbreak was reported on Nov. 4, the port city of 7.5 million people has detected an average of about 24 new local cases a day, more than any other Chinese cities, according to Reuters calculations.
A few cities near Dalian, including Dandong, Anshan and Shenyang, have said people arriving from Dalian have to be quarantined at centralised facilities for 14 days before they can move freely, in an unusually cautious measure.
As of Nov. 14, mainland China had reported 98,315 confirmed coronavirus cases with symptoms, including domestically transmitted infections and those from overseas. There have been 4,636 deaths.
Reporting by Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu and Ella Cao; Editing by Kim Coghill and Raju Gopalakrishnan