The current outbreak in China is caused by the delta variant from overseas, Wu Liangyou, an official at the National Health Commission, said at a briefing in Beijing Sunday.
The wave of infections spread to 11 provinces in the week from Oct. 17, Mi Feng, spokesman for the commission, said at the briefing. Most of the people infected have cross-region travel histories, Mi said. He urged areas that have been affected by the pandemic to adopt “emergency mode.”
Some cities in the provinces of Gansu — including its capital Lanzhou — and Inner Mongolia have halted bus and taxi services because of the virus, according to Zhou Min, an official at the transport ministry.
Ejina, a county in the western part of Inner Mongolia, asked all residents and travelers to stay indoors starting Monday to contain the spread of coronavirus, the local government said in a statement.
China reported 26 new local confirmed Covid-19 infections on Saturday, including seven in Inner Mongolia, six in Gansu, six in Ningxia, four in Beijing, one in Hebei, one in Hunan and one in Shaanxi, according to the National Health Commission. Another four local asymptomatic cases were reported in Hunan and Yunnan.
The spread of the delta variant in Asia is slowing efforts by governments to re-open their economies. Singapore announced Saturday that only employees who are fully vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 270 days, can return to the workplace from Jan. 1. The government last week extended other virus restrictions for another month because cases continue to rise even with more than 84% of the population fully vaccinated.
In China’s capital city of Beijing, the epidemic has expanded to three districts including Haidian, a scientific hub, Pang Xinghuo, vice head of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said at a briefing Sunday.
Five new confirmed local Covid cases and an asymptomatic one were reported between Saturday midday to Sunday 3 p.m., Pang said.
Beijing will cancel a marathon originally scheduled for Oct. 31 due to the virus, the Beijing Daily reported. People in cities where infections have been found are banned from visiting or returning to the capital at present, the newspaper said.
With inputs from NDTV