China is on high alert as the more transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus spreads rapidly in the southeastern province of Fujian. Chinese authorities are restricting movement and closing schools as citywide tests are conducted, SCMP reported.

Clusters of cases in Fujian, spreading from Putian to Quanzhou and Xiamen, are putting the coastal province to the test, with 135 infections reported within six days. Sixty new infections were reported on Monday – 25 from Putian, 32 from Xiamen and three from Quanzhou.

Putian, a 3.2 million-population city in coastal Fujian province, ordered all inhabitants to be tested on Tuesday after cases connected to a man who returned from Singapore, The Guardian reported.

Xiamen, like Putian, has closed some areas with a higher virus risk, reduced offline classes at kindergartens, primary schools, and high schools, closed public venues such as cinemas, gyms, and bars, and warned residents not to leave the city for non-essential reasons.

Covid outbreak in China spreads for 10 days before identified

The virus was likely spreading at an elementary school in the city for 10 days (external source, in Chinese) before the first cases were identified Friday, Shanghai-based media outlet The Paper reported.

As the Mid-Autumn festival and the weeklong National Day holiday are approaching, several Chinese cities have issued notices requiring citizens to “carefully and reasonably” arrange their travel plans, advising them to stay local due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Fujian.

The new outbreak occurs just before China’s National Day on October 1, which marks the start of a week-long holiday and is one of the busiest times for travelers.

After containing the first wave of the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan in late 2019, China has now been hit by multiple outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant.

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