BEIJING, Jan 19 (Reuters) – China reported the lowest daily count of local confirmed COVID-19 infections in two weeks on Wednesday after cities sealed up areas of virus risk, quarantined infections and conducted mass testing.
Mainland China reported a total of 55 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, according to official data on Wednesday, lower than 127 a day earlier and marking the fewest since Jan. 4.
The drop was mainly driven by fewer infections in the central city of Anyang, which reported 29 new local symptomatic cases for Jan 18, compared with 94 the prior day, data from the National Health Commission showed.
China has fewer local infections than many other countries, but it insists that any virus flare-up should be curbed as soon as possible. The strategy takes on extra urgency with the Winter Olympics set to open from Feb. 4 in Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province, and amid efforts to make sure no major outbreaks occur during travel for the Lunar New Year.
The city of Beijing reported one local confirmed case for Jan 18. It also reported one local asymptomatic carrier, which China classifies separately.
Beijing Municipal Postal Administration said international mail arriving in the city must be disinfected and kept static for 48 hours – 24 hours for mailbags and 24 hours for the mail separately – before further checks, state television reported on Tuesday.
The measure came after Beijing officials reported one local Omicron case for Jan. 15 and said the possibility that the person was infected via imported goods “cannot be ruled out”.
Beijing’s local confirmed case on Jan. 18 and a local case reported on Jan. 17 in the city were linked to the Jan. 15 Omicron infection, while the local asymptomatic carrier on Jan. 18 tested positive for the Delta variant, a Beijing city official said on Tuesday.
There were no new deaths for Tuesday, leaving the death toll at 4,636.
As of Jan. 18, mainland China had 105,345 confirmed symptomatic cases, including both local ones and those arriving from abroad.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Stella Qiu, Albee Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Photo – A man wearing a face mask walks past a sculpture of the official mascot of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, near the Olympics venues, in Beijing, China. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY