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US-based Chinese student, 22, is accused of ‘importing’ coronavirus to her hometown

A Chinese student studying in the United States has been accused of triggering a cluster of coronavirus cases involving dozens in north-eastern China after flying home from New York. 

At least 70 people have been infected and more than 4,000 are being tested in Harbin after the virus was ‘imported’ into the city by the 22-year-old, known by her surname Han, according to Chinese media. 

Although most of the infections have been linked to a hospitalised 87-year-old man, known as Chen, Harbin’s health officials have named Han as the likely source of the local crisis.

A Chinese student studying in the United States has been accused of triggering a cluster of coronavirus cases involving dozens in Harbin, north-eastern China. Passengers wearing face masks are pictured pushing luggage carts at an airport in Harbin on April 11

A Chinese student studying in the United States has been accused of triggering a cluster of coronavirus cases involving dozens in Harbin, north-eastern China. Passengers wearing face masks are pictured pushing luggage carts at an airport in Harbin on April 11

A Chinese student studying in the United States has been accused of triggering a cluster of coronavirus cases involving dozens in Harbin, north-eastern China. Passengers wearing face masks are pictured pushing luggage carts at an airport in Harbin on April 11

Harbin health officials are dealing with a cluster of coronavirus cases. At least 70 people have been infected and more than 4,000 are being tested in the city of

Harbin health officials are dealing with a cluster of coronavirus cases. At least 70 people have been infected and more than 4,000 are being tested in the city of

Harbin health officials are dealing with a cluster of coronavirus cases. At least 70 people have been infected and more than 4,000 are being tested in the provincial capital of Heilongjiang

Han tested negative during isolation after landing in her hometown, but local health officials said her two recent tests in April showed she had coronavirus antibodies, which indicated a previous infection. 

Officials suggested that Han spread the bug to one of her neighbours, whom she never met during her quarantine, by polluting the public space.

Her neighbour, Cao, then pass the virus on to various others, who in turn transmitted it to Chen.  

Chen then spread the virus to dozens others, including at least seven medical workers, reported multiple media outlets, including Southern Urban Daily.  

Although it still remains unclear when Han had the infection, Chinese media outlets have billed her as a ‘super-spreader’.

The news comes amid fears that people arriving from abroad and carriers without symptoms could trigger a fresh outbreak in China. Pictured, a job applicants donning a face mask and sun glasses read recruitment information at an on-site job fair on April 21 in Wuhan, Hubei Province

The news comes amid fears that people arriving from abroad and carriers without symptoms could trigger a fresh outbreak in China. Pictured, a job applicants donning a face mask and sun glasses read recruitment information at an on-site job fair on April 21 in Wuhan, Hubei Province

The news comes amid fears that people arriving from abroad and carriers without symptoms could trigger a fresh outbreak in China. Pictured, a job applicants donning a face mask and sun glasses read recruitment information at an on-site job fair on April 21 in Wuhan, Hubei Province

Her hometown Harbin, which has around 10 million people, is the capital of Heilongjiang province.

The province, which borders Russia, has reported a total of 530 cases since the outbreak began in December, according to its latest statement

The news comes amid fears that people arriving from abroad and carriers without symptoms could trigger a fresh outbreak in China.

It also comes as Chinese cities appear to be downplaying native transmissions, but highlighting ‘imported cases’.  

Out of the 60 people who had been diagnosed in Harbin as of Sunday, 21 were silent carriers who showed no symptoms but could pass on the virus to others, according to Beijing Daily

The hospitals in Harbin were arranging 4,106 people to be tested in response to the cluster infections, the report said.

The Second Hospital of Harbin halted its operation yesterday after all of the six cases the city registered on Sunday were said to be related to the hospital. 

According to the Harbin Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Han is a Master’s student at New York University in New York. Her parents and brother live in Harbin.

Han arrived in her hometown at around 6pm on March 19 after flying out of New York the day before with stopovers in Hong Kong and Beijing.

She was met by health workers at the Harbin Taiping International Airport and immediately put under home isolation.

On March 31, she was escorted by community officials to a hospital to undergo a nucleic acid test.

She passed her quarantine on April 3 after her test result came back negative on the same day.

Han and her family went out to have meals with other relatives on April 3 and April 4.

She then travelled to Shanghai and spent three nights there to undergo a surgical operation, Li Xikun, an official from the Harbin CDC told Chinese state broadcaster CCTV

A local health official explains to CCTV how Han has caused the chain of infections in Harbin

A local health official explains to CCTV how Han has caused the chain of infections in Harbin

A local health official explains to CCTV how Han has caused the chain of infections in Harbin

The local health authority contacted Han for another test on April 10 after one of her neighbours, Cao, was identified as an asymptomatic case who showed no symptoms.

The result showed Han was negative in IgM, but positive in IgG. It indicated that she was likely to have been infected at some point in the past. 

Another test, carried out on April 11, showed the same result.

Han and her family members have been put under quarantine in a hotel.

With the number of new cases dropping sharply in China but soaring abroad, China now views the coronavirus as a ‘foreign’ problem.

Officials have been flaunting their triumph in stemming the outbreak so quickly, and rejecting any claim that describes Wuhan as the birthplace of the pandemic. 

Beijing’s state media compares America to a ‘primitive society’ over the handling of coronavirus crisis

A Chinese newspaper has slammed America’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and compared the US to ‘a primitive society’ in a recent opinion article.

Beijing’s state media Global Times claimed that the US is ‘no match for China in terms of anti-epidemic organization and mobilization’ in a column published on Sunday.

The startling comment was followed by another opinion piece in which the newspaper declared that ‘American democracy is dying’. 

A volunteer looks out near a Chinese national flag during a farewell ceremony for medical workers who came from outside Wuhan to help the city during the coronavirus outbreak

A volunteer looks out near a Chinese national flag during a farewell ceremony for medical workers who came from outside Wuhan to help the city during the coronavirus outbreak

A volunteer looks out near a Chinese national flag during a farewell ceremony for medical workers who came from outside Wuhan to help the city during the coronavirus outbreak

In a column titled ‘Smearing China a lame trick to aid reelection for White House’, the Global Times described the escalating epidemic in the US is ‘like that of a primitive society’, blasting Washington’s poor handling of the virus outbreak.

‘The COVID-19 spread in the US is almost like that of a primitive society. It should not have been like this if the US had the slightest science and organization,’ the Chinese state media outlet said.

‘To put it bluntly, the U.S. is no match for China in terms of anti-epidemic organization and mobilization.

‘The US political system has been hit by the pandemic on its weak side and we were willing to show understanding for that. After all, every system has its weaknesses,’ the newspaper asserted.

The news comes as a north-western province on the frontline of China’s coronavirus battle reported today its first cases in nearly three weeks, all involving travellers from overseas.

Like other countries hit by the pandemic, China has ordered tough curbs for arriving travellers, such as mandatory quarantine, besides cutting back on international flights and limiting arrivals of foreigners, including business visitors.

The province of Shaanxi reported 21 new infections from abroad, as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms, all travellers on a commercial flight from Moscow bound for the Chinese capital of Beijing.

The province of Shaanxi today reported 21 new infections from abroad, as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms, all travellers on a commercial flight from Moscow bound for the Chinese capital of Beijing. Chinese President Xi is pictured during a visit to Shaanxi on April 20

The province of Shaanxi today reported 21 new infections from abroad, as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms, all travellers on a commercial flight from Moscow bound for the Chinese capital of Beijing. Chinese President Xi is pictured during a visit to Shaanxi on April 20

The province of Shaanxi today reported 21 new infections from abroad, as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms, all travellers on a commercial flight from Moscow bound for the Chinese capital of Beijing. Chinese President Xi is pictured during a visit to Shaanxi on April 20

As the result of a ban on international flights arriving in Beijing, the Air China jet landed on Monday in the provincial capital of Xi’an, where the virus was detected by medical staff running tests at the airport, and confirmed on Tuesday.

All those infected were Chinese nationals.

New imported infections in mainland China fell to four cases on Monday, the National Health Commission said, the lowest since March 12.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 4,632 people and infected 82,758 in China, according to the latest figures from its National Health Commission.

Worldwide, the pandemic has claimed more than 171,000 lives and infected over 2.5 million.

How is China preventing a second wave of COVID-19 infections?

The country where the coronavirus pandemic began has been working to prevent a second wave of the outbreak looming in hindsight.

Chinese officials have warned that a surge of ‘imported cases’ from inbound travellers and asymptomatic patients could trigger a new epidemic, spoiling the nation’s progress of containing the crisis.

Overseas Chinese citizens have rushed to return home as China is now deemed to be a safe harbour during the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

The picture shows workers wearing protective suits checking information of an inbound passenger at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on March 27

The picture shows workers wearing protective suits checking information of an inbound passenger at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on March 27

The picture shows workers wearing protective suits checking information of an inbound passenger at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on March 27

China have heavily restricted international flights and tightened border controls in a move to avoid a second wave of the outbreak. 

All passengers who fly into China will be quarantined for 14 days. Beijing also opened a dedicated coronavirus hospital in late March to quarantine people arriving from abroad.

By April 8, China has closed all entry and exit points on its 2,670 mile border with Russia, after 40 new COVID-19 cases were recorded at the China-Russia border in one day.

People passing through security at the railway station in Wuhan, a body temperature checking feature is also used

People passing through security at the railway station in Wuhan, a body temperature checking feature is also used

People passing through security at the railway station in Wuhan, a body temperature checking feature is also used

Suifenhe, a Chinese port city of 70,000 residents, went under Wuhan-style lockdown on the same day. An emergency makeshift hospital was built in the boarder city after six days of construction.

The Inner Mongolian city of Manzhouli – the largest land border between the neighbours – also closed in the evening of April 8, stretching its quarantine and testing capacity ‘beyond limit’ as tens of thousands of Chinese flooded back in.

From the start of April, China have been giving daily reports about the coronavirus patients who show no symptoms amid fears that they could lead to a second wave of infections.

Authorities also ordered all cities to isolate such patients in quarantine centres for 14 days, according to a previous directive from Wuhan. People in close contact with them face two weeks of medical observation.

Meanwhile, officials from Guangzhou have pledged to deport any ‘foreigners’ who refuse to cooperate amid the coronavirus crisis after the southern Chinese city has seen a spike of ‘imported cases’. 

Despite China has eased travel restrictions on most parts of the country, residents are required to show a dedicated green code on their phones to prove they are virus-free when travelling or entering public places.

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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