Improper disinfection at a hospital in China’s Qingdao has caused new COVID-19 cluster infections, prompting the city to test over 10 million people, a senior local health official said on Friday.
No new positive cases were reported from over 10 million tests in the city.
“Inappropriate disinfection in the CT room at the Qingdao Chest Hospital has led to the new cluster of COVID-19 infections in Qingdao,” Ma Lixin, the deputy party chief of the provincial health commission, said at a press conference.
The possibility that the new cluster infections were caused by cross-infection in the community was also ruled out, state-run Xinhua news agency, quoted him as saying.
He said no community transmission has occurred.
The Qingdao cluster has created nationwide concern as thousands visited the tourist city during the recent National Day holidays.
Beijing officials announced strict management of international arrivals to the capital, including three tests — before departure, at Chinese customs and after finishing a quarantine period.
Some 34 hotels have been opened for medical observation for people who entered the capital after September 3, when the city resumed some international flights.
As of Thursday, the Qingdao city had collected and tested more than 10.4 million samples and had released more than 8.8 million results, state-run China Daily reported.
Sui Ruwen, the city's vice-mayor and chief of the public security bureau, said there were no additional positive results beyond those already under quarantine.
The testing effort, which aims to cover the total population of 11 million residents, is expected to be finished on Friday, he said.
On Thursday morning, the city reported one new confirmed COVID-19 case.
The case is an independent virus infection of a 40-year-old port worker whose test was positive but had showed no symptoms three weeks ago.
"Generally, the incubation period of the virus ranges from one to 14 days, but there are also reported cases whose incubation period lasted four weeks," said Sun Yunbo, director of a medical experts team organised to treat the city's novel coronavirus, adding that the dock worker is an individual case.
The new case was in addition to 12 infections reported earlier, which were closely linked to the city's pulmonary hospital.
Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that efforts in the coming days should be focused on the close contacts of cases in the pulmonary hospital, especially if there are close contacts that have not been found out and isolated.
"Priorities for prevention should be onwards in hospitals, especially those receiving overseas confirmed cases, and the use of major medical equipment should also be isolated," said Wu.
"Wearing face masks, keeping social distances and washing hands frequently should become a daily routine," he added, the China Daily reported.
In response to the recent outbreak in Qingdao, Sui Zhenhua, director of the Qingdao health commission, was suspended from his post and is being investigated, and Deng Kai, dean of the pulmonary hospital, was removed, according to the statements from the city government on Thursday.
Meanwhile, China’s National Health Commission, (NHC) said on Friday a total of 24 confirmed cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported on Friday.
One new suspected COVID-19 case from outside the mainland was reported in Shanghai, the commission said.
Of the new imported cases, 11 were reported in Shanghai, five in Inner Mongolia, two in Tianjin, Jiangsu and Guangdong each, and one in Fujian and Chongqing each, according to the commission.
By the end of Thursday, 240 people, who came from abroad were being treated in hospitals. The Commission said 376 asymptomatic cases, including 375 from outside the mainland, were still under medical observation.
As of Thursday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland had reached 85,646, of whom 253 patients are still being treated, with four in severe condition.
Altogether 80,759 patients had been discharged after recovery, and the death toll due to coronavirus stood at 4,634, it said.
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