While the two hospitals where the staffers work were temporarily closed, all city hospitals have been ordered to conduct nucleic acid tests for COVID-19 on all their employees.
Meanwhile, the northern province of Shanxi announced a new outbreak in Jinzhong city. Local authorities indicated the patients there had recently visited Hebei Province, ground zero of China’s latest virus resurgence.
The northern regions of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Hebei, and Beijing continued to detect new infections.
Officials in Shanghai said that a staffer surnamed Li at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center tested had tested positive for COVID-19, as well as a staffer surnamed Zhou at the Renji Hospital.
Li’s female friend Tian also tested positive, as well as at least three more of Li’s close contacts.
At the two hospitals that were ordered closed, only patients currently at those facilities can continue to receive treatment, and no patients are allowed to be discharged.
While all hospital staff members have been tested for COVID-19 at least once per month, those who care for COVID-19 patients must be tested weekly.
Both staffers live in a residential compound on Zhaotong Road in Huangpu district, the busiest area of Shanghai.
On Jan. 21, authorities locked down the neighborhood and relocated all residents to quarantine centers. The larger area where the compound is located has been designated as “medium risk” for contracting the virus.
Residents of the area aren’t allowed to travel to other parts of the country. If they need to travel for an emergency, they must present a negative COVID-19 test result performed within the previous seven days.
The local government didn’t say how long the restrictions would last.
People living in neighboring residential compounds also were ordered to take COVID-19 tests.
The northern Chinese province of Shanxi announced new infections in the municipalities of Jinzhong and Yuncheng.
Authorities claimed that the outbreak in Jinzhong was “imported” by three residents who recently visited Shijiazhuang city in Hebei and were diagnosed with COVID-19 after arriving in Jinzhong. All residents in the village where the three COVID patients live have been under quarantine for about the past 10 days.
State-run media Xinhua cited Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan in a Jan. 19 report that claims the outbreak in Hebei was due to a religious gathering. She ordered Hebei officials to persuade people into changing their religious customs.
While recent speculation on Chinese social media focused on claims that Catholic priests from Europe and the United States had brought the virus to Hebei, Shijiazhuang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau director Li Zhanling said at a Jan. 9 press conference that the outbreak had no connection to religious activity.
City officials have blamed the outbreak on large-scale weddings and funerals where people stayed indoors in a tight space and ate shared dishes.
Also on Jan. 21, Qingdao city in eastern China’s Shandong Province announced new infections among people who recently traveled to Suihua city in northeastern Heilongjiang Province. The Qingdao government said it quarantined about 400 people who were identified as close contacts and planned to quarantine more.