China reported no new domestic coronavirus cases Monday, and Beijing appears poised to bring to heel the pandemic’s most serious resurgence in months—driven by the highly contagious Delta variant—with mass testing and targeted lockdowns.
The latest outbreak, which began in mid-July when cleaners at a Nanjing airport tested positive, is the most severe since Covid-19 first surfaced in the central city of Wuhan.
Over a thousand people have been infected across dozens of cities.
But Communist authorities reacted with swift localized lockdowns, travel restrictions, and mass testing of neighborhoods with infections as part of their “zero case” approach to the pandemic, which has virtually sealed off China’s borders but allowed the economy to rebound.
New domestic infections have been falling for over two weeks.
On Monday, National Health Commission data showed local infections returned to zero after a five-week battle.
New Zealand to stay in lockdown
New Zealand extended a national COVID-19 lockdown Monday, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying a Delta variant outbreak has yet to peak.
Ardern said the rapid spread of the highly transmissible variant meant it was too early to lift restrictions imposed last week after a virus cluster emerged in Auckland, ending a six-month run of no local cases.
“Delta had a head start on us and we needed to catch up as quickly as we could… we don’t think we have reached the peak of this outbreak,” she said.
Ardern said 35 new cases had been detected, taking the total to 107, with more than 13,000 close contacts undergoing testing.
New Zealand’s lockdown was due to expire late Tuesday but Ardern said it would continue through to Friday nationwide and until the evening of August 31 in Auckland.
“The safest option for all of us right now is to hold the course for longer,” she said.
“This will allow us to have additional data and see if the virus has spread.”