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China reports no new local Covid-19 cases for first time since July

China reported no new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19

BEIJING: China reported no new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 on Monday for the first time since July, a sign the current outbreak may be waning amid Beijing’s ‘zero-tolerance’ stance and tough anti-virus measures across the country.

More than 1,200 people have been confirmed infected in an outbreak that officials said has been mainly driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which was brought in from abroad and caused a cluster in late July in the eastern city of Nanjing.

No deaths have been reported in the outbreak.

This spurred authorities across the country to impose counter-epidemic measures including mass testing for millions of people to identify and isolate carriers, as well as travel restrictions of varying degrees. Across China, new daily local cases fell to the single-digit level last week, after peaking in early August.

Since the weekend, authorities have lifted lockdowns in a few areas in Beijing, as well as in the cities Wuhan and Jingmen in central Hubei province, after these cities had sealed up some areas to contain the virus.

By contrast, Shanghai placed hundreds of people under quarantine over the weekend after some fresh infections were reported, sparking concerns of a fresh outbreak in the city. Still, Shanghai reported no new local infections for Aug 22.

Experts do not expect China to alter its zero-tolerance playbook in the near future — even when facing just a handful of local infections.

“Although China’s current (Covid containment) policy is characterized by a high degree of disruption as well as cost, a suite of effective measures has been established, which I don’t think will be abandoned easily,” said Chen Zhengming, professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford.

“Inspections at customs, quarantine, the mobilization of communities, mass testing, etc, one Including new infections detected among travelers arriving in mainland China, the National Health Commission reported on Monday a total of 21 new confirmed cases for Aug 22, down from 32 a day earlier.

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