Authorities in China’s Qingdao have traced the cause of a coronavirus outbreak to two infected dock workers and cited insufficient disinfection and protection measures at a local hospital.
The examination room where the workers had checkups was contaminated, according to the municipal health commission in the coastal city. Inappropriate disinfection in a room at the Qingdao Chest Hospital “has led to the new cluster of Covid-19 infections,” Ma Lixin, the deputy party chief of the provincial health commission, said on Friday.
One of the workers had tested positive for the virus in late September, but only developed symptoms after 20 days, on October 14. “Generally, the incubation period of the virus ranges from one to 14 days, but there are also reported cases whose incubation period lasted four weeks,” said Sun Yunbo, director of a team of experts combatting the novel coronavirus in the city.
The emergence of a new cluster prompted the city to test the entire population, but no new positive cases have been reported from over 10 million tests. Health authorities ruled out the possibility of new cluster infections.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that “priorities for prevention should be on wards in hospitals.”
After the new outbreak in Qingdao, Sui Zhenhua, director of the Qingdao health commission, was suspended from his post and is being investigated.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Friday that 240 people who came from abroad were being treated, and 376 asymptomatic cases, including 375 from outside the mainland, were under medical observation.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China stands at 85,622, with 4,634 deaths, while 80,759 patients had been discharged after recovery.
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