China reported another 62 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Thursday as the highly transmissible Delta variant continues to spread and tens of millions of people are tested across the country.
While the transmission rate remains relatively low, authorities are scrambling to contain the latest wave of cases - the worst surge in months that has now reached 17 provinces. More than 500 people have tested positive since the first infections were reported at an airport in Nanjing last month.
Lockdowns and restrictions on travel have been imposed in some areas and mass testing has been ordered in a number of cities as authorities press ahead with a "zero tolerance" approach to containing the virus.
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That strategy was reinforced on Wednesday when Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan called on officials at a meeting in Beijing to make it their top priority to stop the spread of the Delta variant.
Authorities are also continuing the push for mass vaccination of the 1.4 billion population. More than 1.7 billion vaccine doses had been administered as of Wednesday, according to the National Health Commission.
Of the new infections on Thursday, 40 were reported in the eastern province of Jiangsu, where Nanjing and another hotspot, Yangzhou, are located.
Three people also tested positive in Beijing, all linked to an infected traveller who had returned from a popular tourist spot in Hunan province, which has seen a cluster of cases.
Nearby Henan - hit hard by floods last month after record-breaking rainfall - also reported three new cases after its capital Zhengzhou, home to 11 million people, became the latest to start mass testing its entire population.
Fifty-four new asymptomatic cases were reported on Thursday, 32 of them locally transmitted, but China does not include these in its tally.
Cities across the country have stepped up measures to manage the outbreak. In Beijing - which has seen just nine cases so far - anyone who has been in a hotspot is barred from entering, and transport from those places has been halted. Large exhibitions in the capital have been cancelled this month, and passenger numbers have been limited on the subway during peak hours, according to state news agency Xinhua. Visitor numbers are also being limited at public venues like parks, cinemas and libraries.
Shanghai is also on alert, though it has only reported one local case in the latest wave and daily infections brought in from elsewhere have been in the single digits for months. Its new measures include the education department requiring all teachers and students who have been in a high-risk area to quarantine for 14 days and get tested twice, while several schools have postponed registration for next semester.
Zhuzhou in Hunan, which has been locked down for three days, has extended the restrictions for the downtown area for another five days from Friday after another 18 people tested positive.
Meanwhile in Chongqing, in the southwest, a single asymptomatic case reported on Wednesday has prompted Fengjie county to seal off a residential compound and close a park that the person had visited, and authorities are urging people to get tested.
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