2021-02-15 05:14:07

China has reported its first local COVID-19 infection since the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The case was uncovered in Shijiazhuang, capital of the northern Hebei province, officials announced Monday morning. It’s the first confirmed local infection in China since Feb. 8.

Shijiazhuang is one of several northern Chinese cities that have been battling a resurgence of the coronavirus this winter. Located less than 300 kilometers from Beijing, the city previously went into lockdown in early January due to a spike in infections. 

The latest patient is from a village in Shijiazhuang’s Gaocheng District, who had previously returned several negative nucleic acid tests during home and centralized quarantine since Jan. 3, according to Hebei provincial authorities. On Saturday evening, however, the person came down with a fever and was transferred to Shijiazhuang No. 3 Hospital. On Sunday morning, the patient’s nucleic acid test results came back positive.

The new infection brings the total number of local active COVID-19 cases in Hebei to 153, while nine asymptomatic patients are still under medical observation in the province.

Chinese authorities have been concerned about the potential for an increase in COVID-19 cases over the Lunar New Year holiday, which began last Thursday, as millions of people travel across the country on vacation or to visit their hometowns. Many local governments have required returning migrants to obtain negative nucleic acid tests before traveling and self-isolate after their arrival.

As of Sunday, a total of 89,772 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed on the Chinese mainland since the pandemic began, while 4,636 people in the country have died from the disease, according to official figures.

Editor: Dominic Morgan.

(Header image: A medical worker sprays disinfectant in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Feb. 7, 2021. Ren Quanjun/People Visual)