Quarantine facility rooms ready in Shijiazhuang

2021-01-20 12:03:04

A medical worker collects a throat swab from a resident in Longyao county, Xingtai, Hebei province on Jan 18, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua] Hebei's capital uses isolation of those at risk as major tool against virus' spread Huangzhuang Apartments, a new, centralized quarantine facility being built in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei province, was to deliver 1,779 rooms by Wednesday, a top provincial official said on Tuesday. The decision to build the facility came on Jan 12 as Hebei faced an increase of confirmed cases, Yu Wenxue, deputy secretary-general of the province, said at a news conference. Hebei had identified five new local COVID-19 patients and an asymptomatic carrier by 10 am on Tuesday, raising the number of its confirmed patients to 805 and asymptomatic carriers to 168, officials said. About 80 percent of the confirmed cases are from Shijiazhuang's Gaocheng district. As of midday Friday, over 27,000 people at higher risk had been moved to 434 centralized quarantine centers citywide, said Vice-Mayor Meng Xianghong. Centralized quarantine has been a key measure to reduce transmission. On Wednesday, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, the two big hard-hit cities in Hebei, will start a third round of mass nucleic acid testing. Measures have started to show results, with 35 new, local confirmed cases identified in Hebei on Monday, down from 54 on Sunday, 72 on Saturday and 90 on Friday. Disciplinary action Two Shijiazhuang hospitals, however, have been cited for dereliction of duty in failing to prevent the spread of the virus, including failing to properly follow up on close contacts of a confirmed patient, a notice from the National Health Commission said on Tuesday. The failures led to infections among staff, patients and caregivers, it said. Poor local leadership also has been blamed in northeastern areas including Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces, which have seen cases soar. Eight top officials from Heilongjiang's Wangkui county and Huiqi village were removed from their positions after their failures in epidemic prevention and control, according to a statement on Tuesday from the provincial disciplinary watchdog. The eight included two deputy leaders of Wangkui, the director of the county health commission and director of its center for disease control and prevention. In Huiqi township, the Party secretary, deputy Party secretary and deputy head of the township were removed, as was the director of Huiqi village. Eight other officials from departments responsible for epidemic control and prevention in Huiqi village, Huiqi township and Wangkui county received severe punishment that included a warning or demotion, the statement said. As of Monday, Heilongjiang had reported 172 confirmed cases and 276 asymptomatic carriers since the first asymptomatic carrier was reported on Jan 10 in Wangkui county, Liu Yancheng, an official with the provincial health commission, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Liu added that all were in some way connected to Huiqi village. Serious problems with formalism and bureaucratism were found, and leaders in the county and village shouldered most of the responsibility, the disciplinary statement said. Jilin province reported 43 new locally transmitted confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 34 asymptomatic carriers on Monday, the provincial health commission reported on Tuesday. Jilin designated 15 areas as medium-risk on Monday, bringing the number of medium-risk areas in the province to 24. Han Junhong in Changchun contributed to this story.