China testing entire city after just 12 cases end COVID-free streak
Beijing - China's 56-day streak of coronavirus has been suspended. Six people with symptoms and another six without symptoms tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in one city, resulting in a dramatic reaction.
All cases are linked to a single hospital, Qingdao Chest Hospital in Qingdao City on China's east coast. The city's health commission posted the news on Chinese social media website Weibo, and the hospital, about 250 miles southeast of Beijing, has been closed.
About 9 million people live in Qingdao, more than New York City and twice as many as Los Angeles. The authorities are currently in the process of testing each and every one of them. You are determined to complete this process by the end of this week - a remarkable achievement, but not unexpected in China.
Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests during city-wide testing for new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, October 12, 2020. / Photo credit: cnsphoto / STRINGER / REUTERS
Photos and videos circulating on both social and state media show how citizens line up to be tested.
Officials in Wuhan, which has a slightly larger population, said all of its citizens were tested in just 10 days earlier this year as it battled a virus resurgence.
To many, news of new cases, even after nearly two months without them, may come as no surprise. The whole country recently got back to work after an 8-day national holiday that saw millions of Chinese people on the move.
It was the first major public holiday since the coronavirus pandemic was brought under control here. Around 637 million trips were made during the national holiday break. To put that in perspective, it is almost synonymous with every single American making two trips in the same time frame.
People bought out plane and train tickets and blocked highways to release pent-up frustrations after being stuck at home for most of this year.
By the grand scheme of things, the new cases in Qingdao are a minor flaw in China's officially reported coronavirus numbers. The World Health Organization, based on data from the Chinese government, has recorded just over 91,000 COVID-19 infections and less than 5,000 deaths in China.
Critics say China's reported numbers are too low - probably fair criticism in a country known to cover up bad news.
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