China fights new COVID-19 spike: Fresh outbreak in Xinjiang spreads to a second city as Hong Kong faces ‘out of control’ surge of the deadly disease

  • Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi has been grappling with a virus crisis since last week
  • Provincial officials closed communities and imposed travel restrictions there
  • But the virus has spread to China’s westernmost city Kashgar, authorities said
  • Comes after Hong Kong’s leader said the city’s new wave was ‘out of control’
  • The financial hub saw 106 infections on Sunday, the highest rise since January

China has recorded a new wave of coronavirus cases as both Xinjiang and Hong Kong are grappled with COVID-19 fresh outbreaks. 

Xinjiang, home to most of China’s Uighur ethnic minority, reported a confirmed infection in the city of Kashgar after detecting a new virus crisis in its regional capital of Urumqi.

It comes as Hong Kong is bracing what its leader called an ‘out of control’ surge of cases after registering over 100 infections on Sunday, the highest single-day total recorded since the pandemic began. 

The Uighur region in western China Monday reported a confirmed infection in Kashgar of 4.8million after detecting a fresh virus crisis in its regional capital, Urumqi with 3.5million people, on Thursday. Pictured, a medic collects a swab from a resident in Urumqi on July 19

Hong Kong is bracing what its leader called an ‘out of control’ surge of cases after registering over 100 infections on Sunday, the highest single-day total recorded since the pandemic began. Pedestrians are pictured walking across a main road in Hong Kong on July 20

The file picture taken on June 21 shows a group of Uighur women working at a garment factory in a resettlement area in Yecheng county of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Xinjiang had mostly avoided the worst of the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The autonomous region had stopped registering new cases since February 18 after recording a total of 76 infections.

But Xinjiang’s capital city, Urumqi of 3.5million, reported on Thursday its first COVID-19 infection – a 24-year-old female retail worker – in five months. 

The officials recorded another five native cases the next day, prompting the government to impose ‘the strictest’ anti-virus measures.

Officials closed off local communities after shutting down the city’s only subway line and cancelling hundreds of flights in and out of its international airport.

On Saturday, Urumqi authorities declared that the city had entered ‘wartime mode’ and launched an emergency response plan as dozens of new infections continued to emerge, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Xinjiang officials today reported another sum of 17 new confirmed coronavirus cases, of which one was found in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar, 1,474 kilometres (916 miles) away from Urumqi.

The western Chinese region Monday reported a confirmed infection in Kashgar of 4.8million after detecting a fresh virus crisis in its regional capital, Urumqi with 3.5million people

The file picture taken on June 17 shows workers making a type of traditional baked pancake at a poverty alleviation workshop in Keping County, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Kashgar’s new infection is said to have been brought into the city from Urumqi while the other 16 confirmed cases were found in the regional capital, according to the authorities. The picture taken on June 18 shows workers at a garment factory in Aketao county of Xinjiang

Kashgar’s new infection is said to have been brought into the city from Urumqi while the other 16 confirmed cases were found in the regional capital, according to the authorities.

A total of 50 asymptomatic patients have been reported in Xinjiang since the local outbreak that has infected at least 47 people.

Over 3,000 people are currently under quarantine in Urumqi for medical observation, said the officials.

It remains unclear if all the patients are linked to the same infection cluster as the government tries to unravel the source of the outbreak, according to the authorities.

As of Monday, Xinjiang has recorded a total of 123 COVID-19 patients and three deaths since January.

A total of 50 asymptomatic patients have been reported in Xinjiang since the local outbreak that has infected at least 47 people. Urumqi residents undergo nucleic acid testing on July 19

A medical worker is pictured taking swabs from a young girl at a community in Urumqi Sunday

The news comes as Hong Kong is facing what its city leader termed an ‘out of control’ surge of COVID-19 infections after seeing a record-high rise on Sunday.

The finance hub, one of the first places to be struck by the virus when it emerged from central China, had impressive success in tackling the disease, all but ending local transmissions by late June.

However, in the last two weeks, infections have spiked once more and doctors fear the new outbreak is now spreading undetected in the densely packed territory of 7.5 million people.

On Sunday chief executive Carrie Lam said more than 500 infections had been confirmed in the last fortnight alone, nearly a third since the outbreak began.

A total of 108 new infections were recorded by health authorities yesterday, a daily high for the finance hub.

On Sunday chief executive Carrie Lam (pictured on July 19) said more than 500 infections had been confirmed in the last fortnight alone, nearly a third since the outbreak began

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) contractors take part in a cleaning and disinfection of Pei Ho Street Market in the Sham Shui Po district of Hong Kong on July 17 

A total of 108 new infections were recorded by health authorities yesterday, a daily high for the finance hub. Taxi drivers are pictured at a makeshift testing station in Hong Kong on July 19

‘I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control,” Lam told reporters.

Lam announced new social distancing measures last week, shuttering many businesses including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transport.

On Sunday Lam announced even more regulations, including plans to make it compulsory to wear masks inside any public indoor venue – and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work for home.

As hospital wards fill, officials are also scrambling to build a further 2,000 isolation rooms on barren land near the city’s Disneyland resort to monitor and treat those who test positive, she added.

The Chinese-ruled city today recorded another sum of 73 cases, of which 66 were native, bringing the total to 1,959. Twelve people have died from the disease, said Hong Kong government.

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