China reports surge of asymptomatic coronavirus cases in Xinjiang

SHANGHAI: China reported the highest number of asymptomatic novel coronavirus infections in nearly seven months yesterday, following the discovery of a cluster of cases linked to a garment factory in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

Health authorities found 137 asymptomatic cases on Sunday during a drive to test 4.75 million people in the Kashgar area triggered by an asymptomatic infection in a 17-year-old female garment factory worker reported on Saturday. This takes the total of new asymptomatic cases in China to 161.

It was not clear how the teenager was infected though the official Xinhua news agency said all of the new cases were linked to another garment factory where the patient's parents work.

The parents had not tested positive for the virus, however, it said.

Contact tracing work to locate the origin of the outbreak was going on, media reported.

Meanwhile, Australia's second-biggest city will this week exit its coronavirus lockdown following nearly four months under onerous restrictions, authorities announced yesterday, after no new daily cases or deaths were recorded.

Stay-at-home orders for Melbourne's five million residents will be lifted from midnight today while restaurants, beauty salons and retail stores will be permitted to open their doors.

Melbourne and the surrounding Victoria state recorded the first 24-hour period without any new cases since June 8.

The state remains cut off from the rest of Australia, where regional authorities have largely taken a hyper-vigilant response such as maintaining internal border restrictions. - REUTERS, AFP