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Chinese city of Qingdao punishes two officials over COVID-19 cluster

Chinese city of Qingdao punishes two officials over COVID-19 cluster

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab from a child for nucleic acid testing, following new cases COVID-19 in Qingdao, Shandong province, China on Oct 13, 2020. (Photo: cnsphoto via REUTERS)

BEIJING: The Chinese city of Qingdao said on Thursday (Oct 15) it had suspended its health commission head and sacked a hospital director following an outbreak of coronavirus infections that ended China's run of about two months without reporting a local case.

The coastal city has reported 13 recent infections, most of them linked to the Qingdao Chest Hospital, where infected travellers arriving from overseas had been treated in an isolation area.

READ: Mainland China reports 11 new COVID-19 cases 

One of the cases involved a dock worker who had earlier tested positive for the virus but only developed symptoms after about 20 days, the city said.

Qingdao announced this week that it would test all of its 9 million residents for the virus over a five-day period. More than 7 million results had come back as of Thursday morning, with no infections beyond those reported, it said.

READ: China's Qingdao completes COVID-19 testing for more than 4 million people after new infections

READ: China tests entire city for virus as WHO slams herd immunity idea

The novel coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

After early missteps, China has taken aggressive measures to curb its spread, including mass testing campaigns when clusters appear, and has managed to nearly stamp out domestic transmission.

The total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in mainland China stands at 85,622, with 4,634 deaths.

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Source: Reuters/ga


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