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7 tourists test positive for virus in Xi'an

By MA JINGNA in Lanzhou and ZHANG XIAOMIN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-10-19 09:43
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Medical workers prepare to test a resident for the novel coronavirus in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Sunday. [Photo by Wang Xiaofeng/for China Daily]

Central health authorities send teams to four regions involved

Shaanxi province identified six new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic carrier among a tour group in Xi'an on Sunday, raising the possibility that some neighboring regions like the Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions might be affected, local authorities said on Monday.

The National Health Commission sent working teams to Inner Mongolia, Gansu province, Shaanxi and Ningxia on Monday afternoon to guide epidemic control efforts related to tourists.

The seven people, aged between 62 and 76, are being treated at a designated hospital in Xi'an, Shaanxi's provincial capital, Liu Shunzhi, head of the city's health commission, said at a news conference on Monday morning.

The seven, including three couples, had traveled together from Shanghai to Zhangye, Gansu, by air via Xi'an on Oct 9 and then traveled around by car in Gansu and Inner Mongolia. On Friday, they flew from Jiayuguan, Gansu, to Xi'an with certificates showing they were negative for novel coronavirus, Liu said.

One couple tested negative in Ejine Banner, Inner Mongolia, on Wednesday evening and were found to be clear. They also took a test on Friday morning in Jiayuguan but did not get the result before leaving the city.

On Saturday morning, the couple took a taxi to the Eighth Hospital of Xi'an for a test, which found they were positive. The other five people traveling with them took tests and were also found to be positive.

Liu said Xi'an had collected 33,777 samples for testing from people linked to the seven tourists. As of 8 am on Monday, the results of 20,481 of those sampled had come back negative.

Yinchuan, Ningxia, also reported one case on Monday. The patient had joined the seven traveling in Gansu and Inner Mongolia and had returned to Yinchuan from Jiayuguan on Saturday.

In Ejine Banner, Inner Mongolia, initial screening of nucleic acid testing has found at least one sample positive and retesting is underway, the local COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters said.

It announced on Monday afternoon that the administrative area of Ejine Banner would be closed for 48 hours, with traffic control being carried out at all traffic entrances and exits and all scenic spots shut down.

In Jiayuguan, 26 people were identified as close contacts with infected individuals. All their test results were negative.

The city announced on Monday that it would test all residents from 8 am to 11 pm.

Some scenic areas linked to the tour group were closed temporarily for epidemic control, including a cultural relics venue in Jiayuguan, the desert poplar forest in Jiuquan's Jinta county in Gansu, and the Dayan Pagoda and the Great Tang All Day Mall pedestrian street in Xi'an.

Yuan Hui and Hu Dongmei contributed to this story.

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