By Ebi Kesiena
New local COVID-19 infections have increased, as Delta variant spreads more than double in China’s south-eastern province of Fujian.
According to health authorities on Tuesday, this has prompted officials to quickly roll out measures to curb the spread, including travel restrictions to halt the spread of the virus.
China’s National Health Commission said 59 new locally transmitted cases were reported for September 13th, up from 22 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian, a province bordered by Zhejiang to the north and Guangdong to the south.
In just four days, a total of 102 community infections have been reported in three Fujian cities, including Xiamen, a tourist and transport hub with a population of 5 million.
The infections comes ahead of the week-long national holiday starting on October 1st, a major tourist season. The last domestic outbreak in late July to August disrupted travel, hitting the tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors.
Fujian’s outbreak began in Putian, a city of 3.2 million, with the first case reported on September 10th. Preliminary tests on samples from some Putian cases showed patients had contracted the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The virus has since spread south to Xiamen, which reported 32 new cases of community transmission for September 13th compared with just one infection a day earlier.
“The Putian government is a big client of ours. About half of our company went to Putian last week. They are now isolated at home, while the rest have gone to do their Covid test,” said a staff at a Xiamen building survey firm, declining to be named.