China steps up measures to protect capital, reports 107 new cases

BEIJING (Reuters) -China stepped up measures to protect its capital Beijing, as an uptick in coronavirus cases driven by the more infectious Delta variant spread across multiple cities in the country.

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The National Health Commission reported on Saturday 107 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland for Aug. 6, compared with 124 a day earlier.

Of the new infections, 75 were locally transmitted, the health authority said. That compares with 80 local cases a day earlier. Most of the local cases were in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

Those currently outside Beijing in higher risk areas should temporarily postpone their return, and others should provide a negative COVID-19 test, according to details of a Saturday meeting by local officials reported by the Beijing Daily. Epidemic prevention measures at railways, highways and airports should be strengthened, they said.

Some local governments have been called out by Beijing for lowering their guard, leading to the spread of the Delta variant from multiple sources.

To deal with the infections, some cities have initiated multiple rounds of mass testing to identify carriers. Inter-city travel restrictions have been imposed, and public places of gathering including entertainment venues have been either shut or restricted.

But a health official said last week he expected China’s latest outbreak to be largely under control within weeks.

China reported 32 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, compared with 58 a day earlier.

No new deaths were reported.

As of Aug. 6, mainland China had recorded 93,605 confirmed cases, with the cumulative death toll unchanged at 4,636.

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