September 26, 2021

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An outbreak of Covid-19 at an international airport last week has now led to the identification of cases in at least 13 other cities across China,
including the capital Beijing.

Last week, a number of airport workers tested positive at the
Nanjing Lukou International Airport, prompting flight cancellations
and delays.

State media reported yesterday that 1,657 members of airport staff
were told to self-isolate and monitor their health for two weeks.

Cases, however, quickly spread in Nanjing, and local officials
confirmed that the Delta variant was present in the city. There are now 171
confirmed symptomatic cases, and the local government has placed many
communities in Nanjing under lockdown. A massive testing drive covering the
city’s 9.3m population is taking place.

Image caption: Cases have been identified in at least 13 cities

Media are somewhat optimistic that China can handle this outbreak. Nanjing’s local health commission has said the majority of patients in the city are only exhibiting mild symptoms, thanks to huge uptake of vaccination. The national Global Times newspaper says that in the city, only three are seriously unwell.

The paper adds, however, that cases linked to the Nanjing outbreak have now been identified in “at least 13 cities” including Chengdu and Beijing. Cases had already reached nine cities spanning five Chinese provinces yesterday.

The state-run The Paper news website suggests that more cases may soon be appearing elsewhere. It says today that based on information circulated by health commissions, “the trajectory of the Nanjing cases involves 26 cities in 15 provinces”.