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The cases were detected in Kashgar, a city in the Xinjiang region in the north-west of China, and are the first in 10 days in the country. Chinese authorities reported the asymptomatic cases were linked to a garment factory in the city where a teenager whose parents had the virus worked. As of Sunday, 2.84 million people were tested, although the region’s population is estimated at 4.75 million.
Despite the large testing operation, residents were left confused after flights in and out of Kashgar were cancelled without prior warning.
Residents have now been ordered to remain in the city while schools have also been closed.
Although factories do have anti-pandemic measures in the workplace, those restrictions do not apply to where people live.
Xinjiang is also where a similar outbreak in August forced the state to institute a strict lockdown.
The region is also where the Uighur minority group is located and are allegedly being persecuted by Beijing.
Health authorities in Kashgar insisted the 17-year-old had not left the city and had only driven between work and home.
Despite that, authorities did not reveal why mass testing was now being carried out across the region.
However, a former head of the country’s disease control centre, stated the outbreak is related to a change in temperature due to autumn.
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She told Red Star News: “If the quarantine measures are efficient enough, it would not spread on a large scale.
“I don’t think Xinjiang’s outbreak would be like the one we had in January in Wuhan.
“As long as Kashi has proper quarantine measures, the epidemic there is controllable and preventable.”
Earlier this month, the city of Qingdao in the east of China also reported an outbreak.
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A dozen cases were linked to a hospital treating coronavirus patients arriving from overseas.
The local health authorities stated confirmed there were six asymptomatic cases in the city.
Due to the cases, the authorities were forced to test nine million people living in the city.
Despite being at the epicentre of the outbreak of coronavirus, China has largely brought the outbreak under control.
Currently, the state has reported 85,810 cases of the virus with just 4,634 deaths.
The state, however, has been criticised for its handling of the virus with many states such as the US doubting the true nature of the outbreak.
The President, Xi Jinping, defended how the virus has been handled and instead stated China was the first large economy to recover from the outbreak.
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