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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.










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