Dongguan begins mass testing to contain coronavirus outbreak

Monday, June 21, 2021

The manufacturing hub of Dongguan in China's most populous province of Guangdong launched mass testing on Monday for the coronavirus disease and cordoned off communities after detecting its first infections in the current outbreak, Reuters reports.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus has dominated infections in the provincial upsurge, the first time it has spread in China.

Seen by experts as highly transmissible, the variant was first identified in India.

Dongguan launched a citywide testing program on Monday, following two infections reported since last Friday.

City authorities told residents not to leave, except for essential reasons. Even then, those leaving must show negative test results within 48 hours of departure.

Southern Guangdong has reported 168 confirmed coronavirus infections since May 21, with nearly 90 percent of them in its capital, Guangzhou.

But the infections are few compared with the rest of the world and previous outbreaks in China.

The northeastern region suffered more than 1,150 infections from late December to early February for the worst domestic outbreak after that in the central city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the new coronavirus emerged in late 2019.

But Guangdong, a key entry point for travellers and cargo, has not taken any chances. Although its capital has not reported infections for two successive days, the province as a whole is still reporting new infections in the 31-day outbreak.

Chinese experts said Guangzhou's fight against the Delta variant served as a warning for other cities not to get too complacent.

China reported 17 new confirmed mainland infections on Sunday, down from 23 a day earlier.

One of the newly-infected was a local  in Dongguan, while the rest were imported the National Health Commission said on Monday.

The number of new non symptomatic infections fell to 19 from 20 a day earlier. China does not classify them as confirmed.