Late on the evening of February 13, residents in Suzhou were notified of four positive COVID-19 cases, and informed that all schools within the area would be temporarily closed.
At approximately 6am on the morning of February 14, after the number of known Omicron infections went from four to eight, all residents of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) received a text message stating that nucleic acid testing would commence for all communities in the area at approximately 6.30am.
The text message SIP residents received. Image via That's.
Testing took place in residential communities. Upon completion residents were given pink slips to verify they had taken a nucleic acid test. The pink slips also act as a ticket to enter and exit homes and establishments within the city.
The pink slips handed out to residents who have completed a nucleic acid test. Image via That's.
Health officials in SIP have confirmed that seven out of the eight cases are symptomatic and one is asymptomatic.
The first symptomatic case was confirmed at a local fever clinic on Sunday. The unnamed patient reportedly works at an imported goods warehouse, as does the asymptomatic patient first reported last Thursday, February 10.
China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the medical clinics that the first four positive cases were discovered at will be shut until further notice. It was also stated that hospitals in the city have stopped emergency services.
Authorities have canceled all public events and have ordered all commercial venues and institutions to close for the foreseeable future.
However, it has been reported that a few bars will remain open. Proof of testing (the pink slip), a green health and travel code, as well as temperature checks are required upon entry.
Residents have also been informed that local pharmacies are currently prohibited from selling four categories of COVID-19 related medication – namely antibacterial, cough, antiviral and antipyretic medicine.
Public transport management and control protocols have also been implemented, whereby taxis, rail transit and buses are required to carry out temperature and health and travel code checks.
Shanghai has also suspended inter-province rail and metro transit to and from Suzhou and Kunshan.
Prior to the outbreak, Suzhou had been free of COVID-19 infections for months, largely due to the strict regulations implemented by the local government’s epidemic prevention and control protocol.
As of press time, the city has implemented emergency response measures, including nucleic acid testing in high-risk areas.
If you are currently in Suzhou, please remember to keep your distance, wash your hands and wear a mask when going outdoors.
[Cover image via Weibo/@布衣原野]