BEIJING: China’s health authority on Monday (Aug 23) reported that there were no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 for the first time since July, offering more signs that the current outbreak which began late last month may be tapering off soon.
The latest outbreak was driven mainly by infections first detected among a few airport workers in the eastern city of Nanjing on Jul 20. Since then, more than 1,200 people in China have been confirmed to be infected.
The outbreak has spurred local authorities across the country to impose tough counter-epidemic measures including mass testing for millions of people to identify and isolate carriers, as well as treat the infected.
No one has died in the current outbreak, which has largely focused on the cities of Nanjing and Yangzhou in the province of Jiangsu, near the financial hub of Shanghai.
Across China, new local cases fell to the single-digits last week, after peaking in early August.
But over the weekend, Shanghai placed hundreds of people under quarantine after infections were found in cargo workers at one of its two airports, sparking concerns of a fresh outbreak in the city.
Shanghai has reported no new local infections since then.
Including new infections detected among travellers 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.
China reported 16 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections until they show signs of infection such as a fever. That is down from 19 a day earlier. The new asymptomatic cases were all imported.
Mainland China as of Aug 22 has recorded 94,652 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 4,636, unchanged since late January.