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Man who spent 21 days in quarantine, tested negative 9 times still brought COVID-19 to China
Published on: 2021-09-15
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A man who completed 21 days of mandatory quarantine upon returning to China from overseas has been identified as the likely source of a new outbreak, raising questions over the sustainability of the country's stringent zero-COVID-19 strategy.
 

The latest infections were first detected in two young brothers during a routine COVID-19 test at a elementary school in Xianyou county, Putian city, on Thursday. Another student and three parents tested positive the next day, the Putian municipal government said at a press conference Friday.
 

Experts advising the government have pointed to one of the parents -- a father who recently returned from Singapore -- as the likely source of the outbreak, despite the man having completed a lengthy quarantine on arrival in China.
 

The man arrived in Xiamen, a major coastal hub in Fujian, on August 4, where he underwent 14 days of compulsory hotel quarantine. He spent another 7 days in centralized quarantine at a designated location in Xianyou, before returning home for a further week of health monitoring, according to the Putian government.
 

He had tested negative for the virus nine times during 21 days of quarantine, before testing positive on Friday -- 37 days after entering China, according to state media.
 

China's border restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals are among the strictest in the world. Since containing the initial outbreak in Wuhan, the Chinese government has blamed every local flareup on transmission from abroad -- either through travelers or imported goods.
 

Chinese authorities did not reveal when, where or how the man caught the virus, but an incubation period longer than 21 days is highly unusual.
 

9次核酸都未发现、入境38天才确诊

在9月10日的官方通报中,对本次疑似疫情源头的林某某(38岁,新加坡入境人员、学生家长)的流调情况进行了介绍。
 

经流调发现,林某某为境外返莆人员,8月4日乘坐厦门航空MF852航班自新加坡从厦门机场入境,在厦门定点酒店集中隔离14天后,于8月19日点对点转运至仙游县集中隔离点继续集中隔离。
 

根据福建省的疫情防控办法,林某某在完成“14+7”天的集中隔离之后,于8月26日开始实行7天的居家健康监测。
 

莆田市疾控中心主任凌龙美称,新加坡境外输入病例经21天集中隔离,期间9次核酸检测结果均为阴性、1次血清检测也为阴性,9月10日核酸检测结果呈阳性,病毒潜伏期较长。此外,莆田方面还介绍,本次疫情相关病例的标本已送省疾控中心进行基因测序,结果初步判定为德尔塔毒株。
 

入境38天、9次核酸都未检出阳性,这与此前研究认为德尔塔毒株潜伏期较短、发病快的特征是否不一致?是否意味着病毒出现新变化?
 

近日,有公卫专家表示,不能完全排除这种情况,但这需要首先排除检测试剂、检测操作和采样等原因造成的假阴性等其他的可能性。
 

武汉大学中南医院重症医学科主任彭志勇称,根据以往观察,在设定的集中隔离观察期内,约95%~99%的感染者都能够被排查出来,但不能避免会有个别极端情况出现。
 

“德尔塔毒株目前表现出来的普遍特征,其一是传染力强,其二是病毒载量高,病毒载量高,其实也意味着它很容易就被筛查出来,目前看来,德尔塔毒株其实比之前的毒株更容易被发现。”彭志勇称。

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