COVID-19 Hits Flood-Stricken Zhengzhou and Surrounding Areas

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
August 2, 2021 Updated: August 3, 2021

As severe flooding overwhelmed the city of Zhengzhou, a new surge of COVID-19 was reported over the weekend in Henan and other nearby provinces. The Chinese regime announced that nearly three dozen people are infected with the Delta variant in Zhengzhou, and residents are worried that authorities are concealing the severity of the situation.

On Aug. 1, the Chinese regime announced that new COVID cases were reported in Jiangsu, Henan, Hunan, Yunnan, Shandong, Hubei, Hainan, Anhui, and Ningxia. Authorities did not disclose the number of confirmed cases, but they believe the new surge in infections began in Nanjing city, Jiangsu Province on July 20, where 204 cases were reported as of July 31.

On the same day, the regime announced two confirmed cases and three asymptomatic carriers in Fujian Province. Authorities said the source of the recent infections was a man who contracted the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after he returned home from his recent travels abroad as a worker on a cargo plane.

Zhengzhou is the capital city of Henan and was hit with heavy rainfall and severe flooding on July 20. The surrounding cities were also affected by the floods, including Xinxiang which is still partly submerged in floodwaters as of Sunday. On Aug. 2, authorities announced the death toll in the province climbed to 302 and over 50 people are still missing—though the numbers could be much higher.

The Henan provincial government was concerned the flooded cities would create the right conditions for the CCP virus to spread unchecked. Authorities began to impose travel restrictions, and two senior officials in Zhengzhou were sacked for failing to contain the spread of the virus at a local hospital.

On Aug. 1, Zhumadian and Shangqiu, two cities in Henan, reported two confirmed cases—one from each city.

Henan, home to 99.4 million people, administered over 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by July 31. The regime didn’t mention whether the newly confirmed COVID patients have already been vaccinated.

The CCP announced new vaccine mandates on Aug. 1. Teenagers between 15 to 17 years old will be vaccinated this month; children between 12 to 14 years old will be vaccinated in September; and all children who are eligible to get the vaccine must receive two doses before the end of October.

Epoch Times Photo
A man maintains order with a speaker as residents queue to receive the tests for COVID-19 in Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province on July 31, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

Cluster Outbreak in Hospital

The new wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou is centered around the Zhengzhou No. 6 Hospital.

On July 30, a 39-year-old pregnant woman tested positive for COVID-19 at a local clinic before she was scheduled to receive medical treatment for her cervical spine, becoming the first diagnosed patient in this Zhengzhou outbreak. The woman lives near the No. 6 Hospital, but didn’t visit the hospital.

The aforementioned newly diagnosed patient in Shangqiu had visited this hospital before July 27.

Authorities in Zhengzhou then announced 32 new infections by the end of July 31, and reported another case on the following day.

“Most of the infections are from Zhengzhou No. 6 Hospital. They are custodians, medical staff, and patients,” Wang Songqiang, director of Zhengzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press briefing in Zhengzhou on July 31.

The Henan provincial government revealed more details about the new outbreak at a press conference on Aug. 1.

“The virus of the Zhengzhou outbreak spreads fast and it is highly contagious. Most of the infections are related to Zhengzhou No. 6 Hospital,” said Zhang Ruoshi, vice director of Henan provincial health commission. “The outbreak is in the pre-epidemic stage now, and is hard to prevent and control.”

Zhang confirmed the CCP virus in the Zhengzhou outbreak is the Delta variant.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman receives a test for COVID-19 in Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province on July 31, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

COVID Control After Floods

The Henan provincial government is concerned the outbreak would be more difficult to control because the recent flooding caused a lot of damage to infrastructure and millions of homes.

Since July 31, residents in Zhengzhou were ordered to take the COVID-19 test. Henan authorities arranged about 5,400 medical workers from other cities in the province to run the testing sites in Zhengzhou.

On Saturday, authorities imposed travel restrictions in Henan. The provincial government announced that people are not allowed to leave the province unless it’s an emergency, while residents in Zhengzhou are forbidden leave the city unless they have to—more than ten residential compounds are under lockdown.

On the same day, the central authorities in Beijing ordered each county-level town to prepare at least 300 separate rooms for quarantine. This order made the public anxious about the true scale of the outbreak because many believe the Chinese regime has downplayed the severity of the pandemic and other natural disasters.

“It (the regime’s action) is strange. The outbreak must be very severe … much worse than [the regime] announced. Otherwise, they won’t dismiss the senior officials,” Zhengzhou resident surnamed Li told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on Aug. 1.

On the afternoon of July 31, the Zhengzhou city government announced that Fu Guirong, the director of Zhengzhou city health commission, and Ma Shuhuan, the Chinese Communist Party boss of Zhengzhou No. 6 Hospital, were both dismissed from their posts due to the recent outbreak. The sudden move served as a warning to incumbent officials who are expected to implement effective measures to stem the spread of the virus in their cities.

Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.