Chinese authorities across the northern region of the country are instituting new lockdowns and emergency procedures after more than 100 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in almost a dozen provinces in the last week.
"Since Oct. 17, there have been multiple scattered local outbreaks in China, and they're expanding rapidly," a spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC) said during a press conference on Sunday, according to CNN. "There is an increasing risk that the outbreak will spread even further."
The spokesman, Mi Feng, added that about 75% of China’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19. Mi said that the first signs of an outbreak were detected in a tour group of fully vaccinated senior citizens on Oct. 16. The group had originated in Shanghai and traveled to multiple regions in the north of China.
Of the 133 infections recorded in the country as of Sunday, 106 were linked to about a dozen tour groups.
In response to these cases, the city of Ejin Banner, which sits on the border between China and Mongolia, has been placed under lockdown after about a dozen cases were reported in the city.
An immunologist based in Beijing, who spoke to the Global Times after requesting anonymity, said that the outbreak could have been caused by interactions between people exchanging goods at the city’s port.
"The outbreak is not likely to have been caused by cold-chain logistics as the port does not engage much in this kind of logistics. But as winter approaches, goods exchanges carry viruses in a cold-chain-like manner," he said, noting that the capital city of the Northwest China province of Gansu, the city of Lanzhou, will likely also go into lockdown.
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