Guangzhou boosts virus fight

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The rapid growth of the COVID-19 outbreak in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, has been initially contained after several days of great efforts, but the trend of the pandemic is still uncertain, according to the local health authority.

"The city reported multiple sporadic cases in the entire city, with Haizhu district still being the main battlefield against the pandemic," Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou health commission, said at a Friday news conference.

Haizhu reported 2,423 of the city's 2,583 infections on Thursday.

Since Oct 22, Haizhu has reported a total of 14,940 infections in this round of outbreak, with 18 subdistricts reported to have infections, presenting more difficulties for prevention and control, Zhang said.

To curb the virus' spillover, the health department has decided to give red health codes to those who have visited high-risk areas in Haizhu starting on Friday.

Those who have been given red health codes are required to report to local health departments, neighborhood committees or work units and stay at home for three days, said Zhang.

"Their health codes will become green again when they have negative results after having nucleic acid tests three times," Zhang said.

To block the spread of the virus in Haizhu, the district government prolonged its prevention and control measures on Friday.

Under the new measures that will last to Sunday, all residents in Haizhu are required to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

All public transport services, including bus, metro, taxi and online car-hailing have been suspended while major highway entrances to Haizhu have been temporarily closed.

The risk of local community spread in Yuexiu, Liwan and Panyu districts is also high as sporadic outbreaks have been reported in local communities, she said.

Zhang promised relevant departments in her city would continue to optimize COVID-19 prevention and control measures and try to fight against the pandemic scientifically and accurately in the weeks to come.

Relevant departments in Guangzhou will no longer screen secondary close contacts beginning Friday, and those who are now being quarantined will be released from quarantine, Zhang said.

Wu Bingxiang, deputy director of Guangzhou Bureau of Commerce, said supplies of cereals, oils and related livelihood materials are adequate in the city.

"Relevant institutions and companies have expanded purchasing channels and increased their purchases," he said.

Fu Xiaochu, executive deputy head of Haizhu, said supermarkets that ensure the supplies of daily products remain in normal operation after local meat and vegetable bazaars have temporarily been closed.

So far, his district has delivered more than 21,000 packages to local low-income families, poverty-stricken households and disabled families.

"The living materials packages contain cereals, oil, meat, vegetables and daily essentials," he said.

The Chinese mainland on Thursday reported 1,150 new locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 9,385 local asymptomatic carriers, the National Health Commission said on Friday.

The number of new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections in Beijing has continued to rise in recent days, indicating that the capital is still facing a severe and complicated epidemic control and prevention situation with high infection risks among communities, senior officials said at a news conference on Friday.

Xu Hejian, spokesman of the municipality, said Beijing's control and prevention work is at a critical moment.

Beijing recorded 70 new local COVID-19 infections between midnight and 3 pm on Friday, among whom six were detected at the community level, according to the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the center, said at the conference that the hidden infection risk continues to rise, and he suggests work units and companies reduce offline meetings and residents reduce gatherings.

Beijing's Haidian district suspended all in-person cultural and art training courses starting at 4 pm Friday, though online courses can be continued.

Zhengzhou, Henan province, reported 124 new locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,864 local asymptomatic carriers on Thursday. Eight urban areas of the city began COVID-19 screening on Friday.

The city hosts Foxconn's largest Apple iPhone assembly plant, which has seen a dip in production due to the epidemic.

Young Liu, chairman of leading electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn), said at a news conference on Thursday that with support from the local government, it will control the outbreak in short order and resume full-capacity production.

He said it is asking for strong management capacity to balance epidemic prevention and control, and ensure normal production in a compound with more than 200,000 workers. After taking a series of measures, the Zhengzhou plant has gradually returned to normal order.

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