Beijing: The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread to more regions in China as the strain was detected at one of its major airports in Nanjing city which was busy handling hundreds of summer tourists, a Chinese health official warned on Saturday.

The new wave of the Delta variant strain outbreak in Nanjing city in East China’s Jiangsu Province may continue to spread to more regions in the short term, He Qinghua, a senior official with the National Health Commission, told reporters.

The recent outbreak is caused by the Delta variant strain, which is highly contagious and spreads fast, He was quoted as saying by the state-run Global Times.

The outbreak which officials say spread by cleaners handling a flight from Russia at Nanjing Lukou International Airport had occurred during summer when tourists gathered at scenic spots.

The airport, which was shutdown, handles a large passenger flow, especially summer tourists. “Due to the above three characteristics, the Nanjing outbreak has spread to other regions within and outside Jiangsu Province. There is a risk that it will continue to spread to more regions,” He said.

In July, 14 provinces reported new locally transmitted confirmed cases or asymptomatic cases.

Reports say mass testing has been ordered in and around the places where the cases have been reported.

For the first time after over 175 days, Beijing has reported COVID-19 cases in the last few days.

Reports say guests at a luxury hotel in the city were put on a 21-day quarantine after positive cases were reported there.

Meanwhile, Zhangjiajie, a popular tourist destination in Hunan Province has ordered over 11,000 tourists to take three nucleic acid tests before leaving the city due to the latest resurgence of COVID-19, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Tourists have to show negative results from all three tests before leaving the city.

Zhangjiajie closed all tourist sites and upgraded 11 neighbourhoods to medium-risk areas for COVID-19 on Friday. By Thursday night, the city had over 11,900 tourists, the Xinhua report said.

So far, China has administered 1.63 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Friday, China has officially reported 92,930 since last year of which 971 patients are still receiving treatment and 4,636 died due to the virus.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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