File photo Photograph:( AFP )
Hundreds of thousands of people have been locked down in Jiangsu province, of which Nanjing is the capital, while 41,000 came under stay-at-home orders in Beijing's Changping district
China has reported 64 new COVID-19 cases as the country battled its worst outbreak in months due to a Delta variant-fuelled surge.
Gene sequencing results of 52 cases linked to the outbreak showed they have all contracted the Delta strain, Ding Jie, deputy director at the city's centre for disease control and prevention, said at a news briefing on Friday.
Cases in the early stage of the outbreak were workers at Nanjing Lukou International Airport who cleaned an airplane after it arrived on a flight from Russia, Ding said. The gene sequence of the virus found in samples of the workers were identical to that from an infected person arriving from the flight, he said.
"After their work was complete, due to cleaning and protective measures not meeting standards, it's possible some staffers got infected, causing the virus to spread among cleaning staff," Ding said.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been locked down in Jiangsu province, of which Nanjing is the capital, while 41,000 came under stay-at-home orders in Beijing's Changping district.
At least 206 infections across China have been linked to the cluster, and the outbreak is geographically the largest in several months.
It challenges Beijing's aggressive containment efforts which have relied on mass testing, lockdowns and swift contact tracing.
The novel coronavirus emerged in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019 and ever since, China has taken a zero-tolerance approach to infections, quickly testing large swathes of its population and tracing the contacts of positive cases.
Total confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China stand at 92,811, and the death toll remains 4,636.
(With inputs from agencies)