China has sanctioned a number of officials for failing to contain a Covid-19 outbreak that has resulted in nearly 900 symptomatic infections across the country in less than a month, complicating Beijing’s strategy of keeping the virus out entirely.
The city of Yangzhou in eastern China has issued warnings to five officials for mishandling mass testing, which they claim allowed the virus to spread.
With 308 confirmed cases as of Monday, the city has surpassed neighbouring Nanjing, which was the epicenter of the Delta-driven pandemic. Six patients are severely unwell, and if any of them die, it would be the first Covid death in China in almost six months.
According to the state-backed Global Times, more than 30 officials across the country have been punished for incompetence and mishandling local epidemics, ranging from mayors and municipal health directors to heads of hospitals and airports.
China is grappling with the largest Covid outbreak since the virus initially surfaced in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
More than half of the mainland’s 31 provinces have been affected by the recent comeback. Despite the fact that the vast majority of China’s population is vaccinated, authorities are not taking any chances and are instead relying on mass testing and targeted lockdowns to eradicate the virus.