Northeast China's Liaoning Province reported 52 new domestically-transmitted COVID-19 cases and 5 silent carriers on Thursday, all in the costal tourist city Dalian, which has already suspended schools and colleges amid the latest virus surge.
China reported 79 local infections on Thursday, involving 7 provincial-level regions.
The COVID-19 prevention and control authority of Dalian said on Thursday that the city added 11 new medium-risk areas, bringing the total number to 24. Meanwhile, Dalian government decided to temporarily shut down non-essential public places, and put key places under closed management to minimize gathering activities.
So far, 97 asymptomatic patients, including 80 domestic infections and 17 imported cases are being treated in isolation in designated hospitals in Dalian.
Media reported that all companies involved in importing cold-chain foods have been suspended in Dalian. The first reported case in Dalian's latest wave since November 4 was a 52-year-old employee working at a cold-chain storage warehouse in Zhuanghe, a city administered by Dalian.
Dalian suspended operation of all imported cold-chain food related companies on November 8, according to the office of Dalian cold-chain food epidemic prevention and control leading group.
This is not the first time Dalian reported a cold-chain related epidemic. In July last year, the outbreak in Dalian was suspected to have originated in the processing workshop of Kaiyang Seafood Company. In December last year, the first infected people of the epidemic in Dalian Jinpu New Area were handlers of imported cold-chain food.
Data showed Dalian shoulders nearly one-third of the storage of cold-chain goods in China. The epidemic in Dalian is likely to impact the circulation of cold-chain food in the domestic market.
Dalian is the largest port of cold-chain aquatic product imports and an important cold-chain storage and transportation base in China. Nearly 70 percent of imported cold-chain goods enter China through Dalian port.
There are about 600,000 imported cold-chain related employees in Dalian, and the epidemic prevention and control pressure brought by imported cold-chain is huge. So far, 14 cold storage employees in Dalian have been infected in the latest surge.
Dalian healthy authority said on Thursday that the epidemic in Dalian is characterized by clusters of companies, families and schools, with a high viral load, rapid transmission and strong infectivity. Coronavirus genome sequencing of 24 samples from 16 cases has been completed, belonging to the VOC/Delta variant strains.
Since the latest outbreak in early November, Dalian city has issued three notices for non-essential transportation to leave the city, and strengthened strict control measures. Airports, railways, ports and other transportation hubs have strictly implemented the policy of "non-essential transportation".
Entrances of 36 toll stations of Dalian highway are closed, only vehicles for anti-epidemic use are allowed to pass. The other 16 toll stations in Dalian remain open but only people who possess green health QR codes, negative nucleic acid test results and a pass issued by local government can pass.