Seven people who tested positive for the coronavirus in China, five among whom are Nigerians, have been linked to the same restaurant in China, sparking fears of a looming new outbreak as the country scrambles to get back to normal.
The coronavirus epidemic erupted in China after dozens of people suffering ‘mysterious viral pneumonia’ were linked to the same seafood market in Wuhan.
Guangzhou is situated 1,028 kilometres (638 miles) south of the former epicentre.
Yuexiu District, where the restaurant is located, has imposed strict measures in a response to the new cluster of infections, according to the press.
The new cases have raised an alarm in Guangzhou which has so far reported 466 coronavirus cases.
Guangzhou authorities detected five Nigerian citizens with infections between March 28 and March 30, after screening 3,779 travellers from high-risk countries who weren’t quarantined after arriving in China.
A total of 197 people who had close contact with the patients were isolated and tested.
The owner of Emma Food, known by her surname, Zhuang, was put under quarantine on April 1 after officials discovered four of the patients had recently been to the restaurant. Zhuang, 38, tested positive on April 2.
The owner’s daughter, aged 8, and her three-year-old playmate both were diagnosed with the deadly disease on the next day.
Speculation circulating online yesterday suggested that the infections prompted the district to go into lockdown. City police today have crushed the rumours and said residents are still allowed to enter or leave the community through two designated entrances.
Security guards are seen stationed on the streets to take visitors’ temperatures, according to the press.
Guangzhou is one of China’s major trading and garment industry hubs, attracting many merchants from around the world. The coastal city is also reportedly home to Asia’s largest African migrant population.
Experts have warned that the surge of ‘imported cases’ and asymptotic patients could trigger a new wave of outbreak, spoiling the nation’s progress to curb the epidemic. Residents are pictured shopping at a fresh food market in Hong Kong on April 5
Experts have warned that the surge of ‘imported cases’ and asymptotic patients could trigger a new wave of outbreak, spoiling the nation’s progress to curb the epidemic.
The authority has urged officials to step up monitoring ‘scattered infections’ and possible ‘regional outbreaks’, triggered by non-native cases and patients with no symptoms.
In a worrying sign, more than half a million people in central China had to go into a new lockdown last week after three doctors tested positive for the virus despite showing no symptoms.
Imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms but can still pass the virus on, have become China’s chief concern after draconian containment measures succeeded in slashing the overall infection rate.
With the number of new cases dropping to zero in China but soaring abroad, Beijing now views the coronavirus as a ‘foreign’ problem and has increased its efforts to screen new arrivals from abroad.
China sealed off the city of Wuhan on January 23, when it became apparent the deadly Covid-19 virus had started there.
But at 00.50am on Wednesday, trains carrying people out of the city began running, and major highways also began opening up as China’s lockdown on Wuhan was lifted.