Wuhan authorities said on Tuesday they would test the entire population for Covid-19 after the central Chinese city where the coronavirus emerged reported the first local infections in more than a year.
The city of 11 million is “quickly launching comprehensive nucleic acid testing for all residents,” senior Wuhan official Li Tao said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Authorities announced on Monday that seven locally transmitted infections had been found among migrant workers in the city, breaking a year-long streak with no domestic cases after it crushed an initial outbreak with an unprecedented lockdown in early 2020.
China has confined entire cities to their homes, cut domestic transport links and rolled out mass tests in recent days as it battles the largest coronavirus outbreak in months.
China reported 61 domestic cases on Tuesday as an outbreak of the rapidly spreading Delta variant hit dozens of cities after infections among airport cleaners in Nanjing led to a series of cases reported across the country.
Major cities, including Beijing, have now tested millions of residents as they shut down residential complexes and quarantine close contacts.
The eastern city of Yangzhou, near Nanjing, was the last local government to order residents to stay at home after large-scale tests discovered 40 new infections in the past day.
The more than 1.3 million residents of Yangzhou’s urban core are now locked in their homes, with each household only allowed to send out one person per day to run errands, the city government said Tuesday.
The announcement comes after the tourist destination of Zhangjiajie in central China’s Hunan province and the nearby city of Zhuzhou issued similar orders to more than two million people together in recent days.
The outbreak spread from Nanjing to Hunan last month after people infected at Nanjing’s airport cluster attended theater performances in Zhangjiajie.
Officials have since been desperate for thousands of fellow theatergoers and urge tourists not to travel to areas where cases have been found.
Meanwhile, Beijing has banned tourists from entering the capital during the peak summer holiday season and has asked residents not to leave unless necessary, with top officials swearing over the weekend to “spare no expense” in defending the city.
China had previously boasted of its success in reducing domestic cases to virtually zero after the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, allowing the economy to recover.
But the latest outbreak threatens that success with more than 400 domestic cases reported since mid-July.