BEIJING (AP) – Shanghai has locked up two of China’s most famous hospitals after being linked to new coronovirus cases.
Outpatient services have been suspended and the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center and the Renji Hospital associated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine have been closed, along with some surrounding residential communities.
After months of quelling small groups with mass tests, segregation and social disturbances, China has seen the outbreak grow this winter, mainly in its north. The National Health Commission announced on Friday that 103 new cases had been detected in the last 24 hours.
Outbreaks have also been blocked in Beijing and parts of other cities due to the outbreak, schools have started going early and citizens have been asked to stay home on next month’s Lunar New Year holiday. China expects to vaccinate 50 million people against the virus by mid-February.
There were six of the cases filed in Shanghai on Friday. Both hospitals were closed after suspicious cases surfaced on Wednesday and Thursday. It is not immediately clear if any additional cases were related to hospitals.
In the far north, Heilongjiang province reported 47 new cases, followed by Jilin with only 19 south and Hebei province outside Beijing with 18. Beijing itself registered three new cases.
Chinese hospitals are currently treating 1,674 patients for COVID-19, 80 of whom are in critical condition, while 929 others are under surveillance for positive testing without displaying any symptoms.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region,
– South Korea has reported its smallest daily increase in coronovirus infections in two months as officials expressed cautious hope that the country is beginning to pull out of its worst surge of the epidemic. 346 new cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 74,262 on Friday, including 1,328 deaths. The agency said 240 of the new infections were from the greater Seoul area, for half of the country’s 51 million people, which were hit hardest during a week-long boom in broadcasts that began in mid-November. Health officials have banned private social gatherings since late December, including restaurants that accepted large groups of food. Following a Christmas Day high of 1,241, daily new infections have slowed from about 400 to 600 in recent weeks, and officials have relaxed some social distinction rules.