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2020-07-28 09:13:42

China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Monday recorded 57 new COVID-19 cases, the region’s largest-ever daily increase. Xinjiang’s coronavirus tally now stands at 235 total confirmed infections.

In addition, 13 residents tested positive for the coronavirus without showing signs of infection, bringing Xinjiang’s count of asymptomatic cases — which are counted separately from “confirmed,” or symptomatic, infections — to 165.

The bulk of the infections are in Urumqi, the region’s capital city, which has been shut down since a local outbreak was detected earlier this month. The city now accounts for 233 out of Xinjiang’s 235 total confirmed infections, including all of Monday’s newly added cases.

Over the past two days, China has seen its largest spike in confirmed cases in three months, and authorities are on high alert against another wave of infections. On Monday, 68 additional cases were reported on the Chinese mainland, the highest daily figure for local infections since April. Four out of the 68 are imported infections, while the remaining 64 are locally transmitted. Among the local cases, 57 are in Xinjiang, six are in the northeastern port city of Dalian, and another is in Beijing.

Last week, Dalian reported a COVID-19 cluster after a man working at a seafood processing factory tested positive for the virus. Health officials are now testing the city’s entire population, according to a notice Sunday. Nine cities including Beijing have reported COVID-19 cases linked to the Dalian cluster, and both Urumqi and Dalian have gone into “wartime mode” in response to spikes in infections.

To contain the local outbreak, Xinjiang officials announced Sunday that Urumqi is conducting a second round of mass health screenings in the city’s two high-risk areas, Tianshan and Saybagh districts. Xinjiang’s first local patient was identified as a 24-year-old woman working at a Tianshan District shopping center.

Zhang Wei, director of Urumqi’s health commission, said at a press briefing Sunday that the purpose of the additional screenings is to “check for omissions” after the first round.

“Just one nucleic test can produce a false negative, so two tests are needed to rule out the possibility (of infection),” Zhang said.

Local hospitals have been converted into quarantine facilities to increase their COVID-19 treatment capabilities, officials said Sunday. As of Monday, a total of 8,809 people in the region were under medical observation.

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: An elderly man wears a face mask in public in the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, July 21, 2020. People Visual)