Ten million people have been screened for COVID-19 in China's Qingdao

Ten million people have now been screened for coronavirus in Chinese city of Qingdao in bid to quash outbreak of 13

  • Qingdao has reported 13 confirmed cases, mostly linked to a local hospital
  • The cluster broke China’s two-month streak with reporting zero local infections
  • Officials screened the city’s nearly 10million residents for the virus in four days
  • 7.6million results have come back, purportedly with no new infections detected

Almost 10million residents in the Chinese city of Qingdao have now been tested for the coronavirus as authorities rushed to quash a local outbreak infecting 13 people. 

The major port city in east China with a population of 9.4million, has now confirmed 13 COVID-19 cases after detecting a cluster linked to a local hospital on Sunday. 

Following an ambitious programme of mass testing, the authorities collected more than 9.9million samples, of which 7.6 million results returned.

No new cases had been found during the city-wide screening, officials claimed.

Almost 10million residents in the Chinese city of Qingdao have now been tested for the coronavirus as authorities rushed to quash a local outbreak infecting 13 people

The major port city in east China with a population of 9.4million, has now confirmed 13 COVID-19 cases after detecting a cluster linked to to a local hospital on Sunday. This photo taken on October 12, 2020, shows residents lining up to be tested for the coronavirus in Qingdao

The outbreak in Qingdao broke a two-month streak with no reported virus transmissions within China, though the country has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases. 

And in contrast to previous outbreaks in major Chinese cities, Qingdao has not been placed under lockdown, with residents and visitors free to come and go as they please. 

The mass testing follows the discovery of a dozen cases linked to the Qingdao Municipal Chest Hospital, which was treating coronavirus patients arriving from abroad. 

Twelve cases were first reported on Sunday when health officials said 140,000 employees, patients and personnel linked to the hospital had already been tested. 

The infections were detected in Qingdao just after the Golden Week holiday when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel, leading to fears the disease could have spread

On Thursday, the government reported a new confirmed infection, an asymptomatic patient who was first recorded in September and formally diagnosed yesterday. A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the coronavirus in Qingdao on October 12

On Thursday, the government reported a new confirmed infection, an asymptomatic patient who was first recorded in September and formally diagnosed yesterday.

Of the 13 confirmed cases, eight were treated at the Qingdao Municipal Chest Hospital and one is a family member of a patient. 

Authorities have not shared details of the other four, but said Thursday that all cases in the city are ‘closely linked’ to the hospital.

Officials said they were still working to determine the precise source of the outbreak in Qingdao, however. 

The outbreak in Qingdao broke a two-month streak with no reported virus transmissions within China, though the country has a practice of not reporting asymptomatic cases. In this photo taken Tuesday, residents line up for the COVID-19 test at a makeshift testing centre in Qingdao

Health officials said 140,000 employees, patients and personnel linked to the hospital were also tested the same day the outbreak was detected. medical worker takes a swab sample on a resident for the coronavirus test in a residential block in Qingdao city, Shandong province

China fires two health officials following COVID-19 outbreak in Qingdao 

A hospital president and the director of the health commission in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao have been fired after China’s latest coronavirus outbreak, authorities said Thursday. 

Sui Zhenhua, a senior official from the city’s health commission, was ‘suspended from the post’ and placed under investigation.

Deng Kai, president of Qingdao Municipal Chest Hospital to which the cases have been linked, was placed under further investigation, a brief notice on the Qingdao city government´s official microblog Thursday said.

No other details were given.

Following the new cluster, Qingdao carried out coronavirus testing at makeshift medical centres around the city, which operated between 7am and 11pm. 

Health officials said 140,000 employees, patients and personnel linked to the hospital were also tested the same day the outbreak was detected.

During a press briefing on Thursday, the city’s deputy mayor Luan Xin said more than 9.9million samples had been collected and 7.6million results returned, adding that no new cases had been found.

Luan said that health workers were on track to complete testing 9.4million residents and another 1.5million visitors by Friday – just five days after the programme was launched. 

Beijing has lauded its rapid testing capabilities, with the ruling Communist Party eager to project an image of victory over the virus as much of the world struggles with lockdowns and mass outbreaks. 

The country’s mass-testing regime far outstrips that of most other countries, where tests are often still difficult to access, almost a year after the disease first emerged. 

Health officers say the Chinese government now has a policy of mass testing any city where clusters of infection are detected.

Two senior officials in Qingdao have been punished following the virus cluster.

Beijing has lauded its rapid testing capabilities, with the ruling Communist Party eager to project an image of victory over the virus as much of the world struggles with lockdowns and mass outbreaks. This photo on October 12 shows residents lining up to be tested in Qingdao

The head of the Qingdao Municipal Chest Hospital, Deng Kai, was fired on Thursday. The local health bureau said he had been ‘removed from office’ and was ‘under further investigation’, but did not offer any more details.

Deng’s dismissal comes a day after the head of the city’s health bureau Sui Zhenhua was ‘suspended from the post’ and placed under investigation.

Beijing’s National Health Commission has not offered any details on why Sui was suspended.

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