China tests 250,000 people for Covid-19 after new cases emerge

BEIJING China has tested more than a quarter of a million people for the coronavirus after a handful of cases were detected in the southern city of Chengdu.

An elderly couple were diagnosed as confirmed cases on Monday and authorities have been tracing close contacts and testing food samples.

Local health officials said the virus was detected on food stored in the couple's fridge and on a chopping board in their flat.

As of Tuesday, 255,200 residents in the city had been swabbed for Covid-19 tests, the municipal health commission said, with six confirmed cases and one asymptomatic patient.

Schools and kindergartens in the Pidu district, where the cases emerged, have closed, according to local authorities. Students and teachers are to be quarantined and tested.

Footage on state TV showed people in a park queueing up to be tested.

China - where the virus first surfaced late last year - has largely brought domestic transmissions under control.

The total number of cases in China now stands at 86,661. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported 686 new cases yesterday, the second-highest since the start of the pandemic, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. New daily cases have been consistently around 600 over the past week.

Many of the cases were found in young people who had been highly mobile, making it more difficult to trace infections, health official Yoon Tae-ho told a briefing. - AFP, REUTERS