New Delhi, Oct 25 : The latest Covid-19 resurgence in China which has spread to 11 Chinese provinces in just one week, was triggered by a new imported source identified as Delta variant, according to officials from China's top health authority, Global Times reported.
Some Chinese epidemiologists see the current sporadic outbreaks hit on the largest scale since the epidemic flare-up in Nanjing in late July that was the worst since the 2020 outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
Of the 133 infections reported over the past week, 106 cases were found to be related to tourist activities involving a total of 13 tour groups or self-driving tours, said Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the National Health Commission (NHC) disease control bureau, the report said.
At present, the epidemic is in the rapid development stage, as cases of infections that are not related to tour groups have been increasing.
As screening work continues, the number of infections is anticipated to increase, with the areas affected also expanding, Wu said.
Ejin Banner in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has come under the spotlight amid the latest epidemic resurgence, as almost all the domestically transmitted cases were part of tour groups traveling to the county-level division in the region that borders Mongolia, the latest transmission chains showed, the report said.
Since October 17, the new round of domestic infections has occurred in multiple places and spread to 11 provinces within one week.
Most of the infections are related to cross-regional tourism-related activities and the risks of the epidemic further expanding have been increasing, according to the NHC, the report said.
Based on the epidemiological investigations and the existing virus sequencing results, China's top health authority has identified the current virus genome sequence as sharing low homology with those of the previous outbreaks in China, suggesting that the ongoing resurgence was caused by a new imported source, the report said.
The virus was also identified as being of the Delta variant and appeared to be highly contagious, causing continuous transmission in highly exposed groups.
It has been confirmed that the virus that resulted in the ongoing outbreaks came from overseas, but how it entered China remains unknown, Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital, told the Global Times.
However, it's worth noting that Ejina Banner is at the intersection point of different transmission chains where the China-Mongolia port is located, he said.
Li Mingde, an academic adviser at the Tourism Research Center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that this round of epidemic resurgence demonstrates that tourism is a key channel for virus transmission, as it always comes with clusters and huge flows of people across the country, the report said.