China suspended air and train travel, canceled professional basketball league games, and announced mass CCP virus testing in Wuhan on Tuesday as widening outbreaks of the delta variant reached the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.
While the total number of cases is not reliably known, they are far more widespread than anything China has dealt with since the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan in early 2020 and over time spread to the rest of the country and the world.
The cities of Nanjing and Yangzhou have canceled all domestic flights, and Beijing has halted long-distance trains from 23 stations. The Chinese Basketball Association said that matches of its men’s professional league would be suspended because of the pandemic.
Wuhan, a provincial capital of 11 million people in central China, is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. An unsubstantiated number of cases were confirmed there on Monday.
Most of the local cases are still in Jiangsu province, where an outbreak started at the airport in Nanjing, the provincial capital, and has spread to other parts of the province and beyond. Authorities reported new cases in Nanjing and the city of Yangzhou, 65 miles away, where a second round of mass testing was underway.
Five other provinces and the cities of Beijing and Shanghai reported new local cases. In Shanghai, the nation’s largest city, a driver working at one of its two main airports tested positive.
The Nanjing outbreak, which has been traced to the delta variant, is the source of the cases in most other places. Separately, delta variant outbreaks in two other places have been linked to neighboring Burma (also known as Myanmar), which has seen a sharp rise in infections.
Authorities claim an outbreak in Zhengzhou, a city hit by severe flooding last month, started with people who arrived by air. The earliest outbreak, was in Yunnan province.
Government-affiliated scientists have said that Chinese vaccines are less effective against the new strains of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus but still offer some protection. Only Chinese vaccines are currently being given in China.
The Associated Press contributed to this report