City in China’s Xinjiang Begins Mass COVID-19 Testing Following Latest Outbreak

October 25, 2020 Updated: October 25, 2020

Chinese health authorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang took drastic measures after reporting a new local case of COVID-19, leading some to question their claims about the latest outbreak.

A 17-year-old female living in Shufu County, located in Kashgar Prefecture of Xinjiang, tested positive on Oct. 24, according to the local health commission. She hasn’t exhibited any symptoms of the disease, such as fever or cough.

The teen has since been isolated at a hospital in Kashgar. The health commission didn’t have information on how she contracted the illness.

As a result. Kashgar Airport canceled at least 15 inbound and departing flights on Oct. 24, according to Chinese state-run media. Later that night, the airport said it had resumed normal operations.

Also on Oct. 24, state media reported that after Xinjiang’s Chinese Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, held a video conference with local officials, they decided to mandate COVID-19 tests for all Kashgar residents. The city has a population of 4.62 million as of the end of 2019.

The health commission stated that it expected to take samples from everyone within two days.

As of Oct. 25, the Xinjiang health commission said that of 308,207 test samples, 137 tested positive. None of the newly diagnosed were showing symptoms of the disease, authorities claimed.

All 137 people had ties to a factory where the parents of the 17-year-old teen worked. It’s unclear if her parents were among the infected.

While local authorities haven’t officially announced any lockdown measures, some netizens took to Chinese social media platform Weibo to share about the situation in Kashgar.

“I haven’t had time to react, and I can’t leave home,” one netizen wrote on Oct. 25; he tagged his location as Yengisar County in Kashgar. He also wrote that the city had been placed under lockdown on the afternoon of Oct. 24.

He later added to his post, stating that he went to a store in his community, but all the vegetables were gone.

A video shared on Twitter showed people panic-buying at a supermarket in Kashgar. The Epoch Times can’t independently verify the authenticity of the video.

Meanwhile, junior high schools, elementary schools, and kindergartens have been ordered to temporarily shut down until Oct. 30, according to state-run media.

Several people, all speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that their travel plans had been impacted by the recent outbreak.

A tourist from Xi’an, capital of northwestern China’s Shaanxi Province, said his flight back home was canceled on Oct. 24, forcing him to extend his stay in Kashgar. The traveler said he learned from airport staff that his flight was canceled because of a “public health event.”

A traveler who wished to fly from Xi’an to Kashgar said his flight was canceled on Oct. 24. He said Kashgar had been placed under lockdown.

The municipal government of Beijing also expressed concern about Kashgar’s latest outbreak. On Oct. 25, the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that residents not take any business trips or tours to Kashgar in the near future. It also said those who had been to Kashgar in the past 14 days should monitor their health.

In mid-July, an outbreak in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, prompted local authorities to implement extreme lockdown measures.

In late August, some Urumqi residents said they were forced to regularly take unproven drugs that local health officials claimed could prevent them from getting COVID-19.

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