UPDATED: China’s Guangdong tightens coronavirus measures as cases persist

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Cities in China’s most populous province of Guangdong have locked down compounds and streets and required negative COVID-19 test results for some travellers as local health officials sought to control the outbreaks.

All 10 of China’s locally confirmed mainland cases for June 1 were in Guangdong, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday, seven in the provincial capital Guangzhou and three in nearby Foshan city.

Guangdong, China’s manufacturing and export hub and biggest province by economic output, has stepped up coronavirus prevention and control efforts since the latest wave of cases struck in late May.

Guangzhou has reported 41 locally confirmed cases between May 21 and June 1, and Foshan six cases.

The two cities have ordered residents in some neighbourhoods to be quarantined at home, and required people leaving the cities by plane, train or long-distance bus to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days.

The cases have spurred some Guangzhou residents with no advance appointments for COVID-19 vaccine shots to converge at inoculation venues.

Crowds at some sites have been “severe”, Zhang Zhoubin, a Guangzhou disease control official, told reporters on Tuesday.

Guangzhou has suspended individual appointments and made key groups a priority for vaccination, in a bid to ensure sufficient medical staff to work on virus containment.

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Mainland China reported 24 new coronavirus cases on June 1, compared with 23 a day earlier, and 19 new asymptomatic cases, compared with 15 a day earlier. China does not classify symptomless infections as confirmed cases.

The tech hub of Shenzhen, also in Guangdong, saw two new local asymptomatic infections on June 1, raising the total number of asymptomatic cases in the city since May 21 to 15.

Shenzhen airport has required travellers departing from the airport who hold identity documents from Guangzhou or Foshan to show negative results of virus tests taken within three days prior to travel.

The recent infections in Guangzhou were of a fast-spreading virus strain first detected in India, an official with the city’s health authorities said on Sunday. Officials are still investigating the source of the outbreak.

The Shenzhen outbreak is unrelated to the Guangzhou outbreak. Officials there suspect the virus was transmitted to local communities by port workers, with 11 cases infected with a strain spreading in Britain.

Maoming city, also in Guangdong province, detected an asymptomatic infection on May 25, a contact of a confirmed patient in Guangzhou.

As of June 1, China had a total of 91,146 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while its death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.

Photo: A woman wearing a mask walks past artificial goat on display for the goat diary products on Xihua Farmer’s Market in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. EPA-EFE/ALEX PLAVEVSKI