China : Delta variant of Covid19 detected in 5 provinces
Mushrooming outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant prompted China and Australia to impose stricter Covid-19 restrictions on Saturday as the WHO urged the world to quickly contain the mutation before it turns into something deadlier and draws out the pandemic. China’s most serious surge of coronavirus infections in months spread to two more areas Saturday Fujian province and the sprawling megacity of Chongqing.
More than 200 cases have been linked to a Delta cluster in Nanjing city where nine cleaners at an international airport tested positive, with the outbreak spanning Beijing, Chongqing and five provinces as of Saturday.
The nation where the disease first emerged has rushed to prevent the highly transmissible strain from taking root by putting more than one million people under lockdown and reinstituting mass testing campaigns.
On July 20, nine cleaners at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport tested positive for the virus after cleaning down a plane that arrived from Russia, according to state-run media. Infections have now been recorded in five different provinces including Beijing, and local health authorities have identified the strain as the delta variant.
Officials in Nanjing are now on “high alert” and plan to test all the city’s residents, having already got through 1.9 million people in one day.
Worldwide, coronavirus infections are again on the upswing, with the World Health Organization announcing an 80% average increase over the past four weeks in five of the health agency’s six regions, a jump largely fuelled by the Delta variant which has now reached 132 countries and territories.
“Delta is a warning: it’s a warning that the virus is evolving but it is also a call to action that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge,” said the WHO’s emergencies director, Michael Ryan.