China punishes dozens of officials as Delta outbreaks spread

China Delta

China has punished a slew of officials for failing to curb a the Delta variant outbreak of Covid-19 that’s spawned nearly 900 symptomatic infections across the country in less than a month.

More than 30 officials nationwide, ranging from mayors and local health directors to the heads of hospitals and airports, have been punished for negligence and mishandling local outbreaks.

The country confirmed 94 new local cases of Covid-19 on Monday, the highest since several outbreaks associated with the delta variant began to spread at the end of July.

These cases represent a slight rebound compared to Saturday’s 75 and Sunday’s 81.

Authorities responded to the outbreaks with multiple rounds of massive testing and partial lockdowns in up to 216 areas now considered at risk.

Read more: New Covid cases found in 18 provinces, 27 cities in China, the worst in months

Travel restrictions also star in measures to curb infections, with the suspension of new passports or greater control at the country’s ports and airports.

China shuts down transport routes as it battles worst Delta outbreak

China has increased travel restrictions in an effort to contain the country’s deadliest outbreak in months, which has been connected to hundreds of Delta variant cases among airport workers. 

More than 400 people have been affected in the latest outbreak, which has spread to 25 cities, including Beijing, the capital, and Wuhan, which has not had a Covid-19 outbreak since last year. In 17 of the 31 provinces, cases have been reported. 

The national health commission announced Monday that a total of 94 locally transmitted cases were confirmed, the highest daily total since January. Nearly half were in Jiangsu, which is home to the airport cluster that has been connected to the majority of the cases, and 15 in Hunan.

In order to prevent further spread of the extremely infectious Delta variant, the administrations of all 31 provinces have encouraged inhabitants to avoid leaving their areas unless absolutely essential, and to stay away from the four high-risk – and more than 120 medium-risk – districts across China. 

In addition to numerous lockdown measures, Nanjing and Yangzhou have cancelled all domestic flights, while Beijing has suspended 13 rail lines and halted inbound long-distance ticket sales from 23 stations. 

Yangzhou, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou, which has been flooded, have all begun citywide testing, and Zhengzhou now needs all residents to present a negative test result in order to leave the city. 

Residential zones in Beijing, including those that are home to over 10,000 people, have been cordoned off for mass testing. Wuhan’s 11 million citizens have also been subjected to testing. 

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