China's Kashgar launches testing, closes schools after coronavirus case

BEIJING (Reuters) - Kashgar in northwestern China's Xinjiang region are closing schools for a week and carrying out a city-wide coronavirus test, officials said on Sunday after one person was found to have the virus that causes COVID-19.

A 17-year-old girl was found on Saturday to have the virus but no symptoms of the pandemic disease in a village in Kashgar after being tested during a regular inspection, the Xinjiang health commission said.

The discovery marks mainland China's first local infection since Oct. 14, when one was detected in Qingdao. Xinjiang was the site of a local cluster in August, but no new cases had been found in the region since Aug. 15.

All close contacts of the infected person have been isolated for medical observation and local authorities are carrying out epidemiological investigations, Xinjiang officials said.

Kashgar has launched a nucleic acid test covering the city's 700,000 people. As of Sunday morning, more than 300,000 people had been tested and the rest would be covered within two days, the city government said in a statement.

The Kashgar government said all schools except universities will be closed through Friday but supermarkets and shopping malls will remain open to ensure sufficient supply of living materials.

China's national health commission dispatched experts on Sunday to guide coronavirus control work in Kashgar.

In the daily tally report for Saturday, the national health commission reported 15 imported coronavirus cases in the mainland, all imported, down from 28 cases the previous day. It reported a total of 19 new asymptomatic patients in the country, down from 27 a day earlier.

As of Saturday, mainland China had 85,790 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,634.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu, Shen Yan, Brenda Goh and Ryan Woo; Editing by Lincoln Feast and William Mallard)

10/25/2020 8:55

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