China aims to test more than nine million residents of the port city of Qingdao within five days following a minor outbreak of the coronavirus, health officials said Monday, the first mass testing in months.
The country where the virus first emerged has largely controlled the pandemic, cutting a stark contrast to many parts of the world still afflicted by rolling lockdowns and high case numbers.
On Sunday six cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Qingdao — a northeastern city of 9.4 million — originating in a hospital, Qingdao municipal health commission said in a statement on Monday.
Five districts will be tested “within three days” and the whole city “within five days”, the statement said.
China has extensive, quick test capabilities and the health commission said over 140,000 employees of “medical institutions, newly admitted patients and personnel” have already been tested in Qingdao since the cases were confirmed.
In June large areas of Beijing were subject to mass tests after the city of more than 20 million detected virus cases linked to a food market.
China has bounced back since the virus emerged late last year, closing the country down and hammering the world’s second largest economy.
Hundreds of millions travelled across the country for the ‘Golden Week’ holiday last week as the country edges back to growth, while rapid tests and swift lockdowns have tamped down secondary waves of the virus.
Beijing is also desperate to be first to conjure up a coronavirus vaccine, with several companies in final stage trials.
Although unproven, vaccines have already been administered to hundreds of thousands of key workers and soldiers as China seizes the pandemic narrative to show off the country’s resilience and the Communist government’s ability to handle the crisis.