China steps up port, driver checks after new virus cases

China steps up port, driver checks after new virus cases


BEIJING (AP) — Roadblocks were set up to check drivers and a disease-control official called Thursday for increased testing of workers at Chinese ports after a rash of coronavirus cases traced to a major airport rattled authorities who thought they had the disease under control.

The 171 new cases of the more contagious delta variant in the eastern city of Nanjing and surrounding Jiangsu province are modest compared with India and some other countries. But infections traced to Nanjing Lukou International Airport have spread to at least 10 cities.

Nanjing, a city of 9.3 million people northwest of Shanghai, has ordered tens of thousands to stay home and is carrying out mass testing while experts look for the source of the virus.

The earliest cases were among employees and people who passed through Nanjing's airport, which serves 30 million passengers a year. Officials cited by Chinese media say airport employees might have been infected from improper handling of trash but did not say how the virus might have gotten there.

“We should take special measures on high-risk groups, such as those at entry ports, when it comes to tests, discovery, tracing and vaccination,” said Shao Yiming of the Chinese Center of Disease Control, at a news conference.

Shao gave no details of what additional steps authorities might take.

The official newspaper Global Times reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources, that all flights at the Nanjing airport will be suspended through Aug. 11. It said airport managers hadn’t ruled out a longer suspension.

China has reported 4,363 deaths out of 92,811 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The disease was first detected in late 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The ruling Communist Party declared the disease under control in March 2020 and lifted...

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