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China virus news: another virus access point appears in China – prisons | World News


BEIJING: More than 500 cases of the new coronavirus were detected in prisons in China, authorities said Friday, which led to the dismissal of a large number of officials.

Hubei, the most affected central province where the virus emerged at the end of last year, said on Friday that 271 cases were reported by its prisons on Thursday, including 220 that provincial authorities previously did not know.

Most of those cases were in Wuhan Women’s Prison in the capital of Hubei, He Ping, director of prison administration at the Ministry of Justice, told reporters.

The warden of the Wuhan women’s prison had been removed for not preventing the outbreak, according to the local newspaper of the Communist Party Hubei Daily.

Seven guards and 200 inmates also tested positive for the virus in Rencheng Prison in eastern Shandong Province, the provincial health commission said at a press conference.

Xie Weijun, head of the Shandong justice department, and seven other officials were fired for the outbreak, authorities said.

Wu Lei, director of the Shandong prison administration, said the new cases showed that “the implementation of our prevention and control measures has not been effective.”

The central government sent a team to launch a “thorough investigation” about the outbreak in Rencheng Prison, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Another 34 cases were found in Shilifeng Prison in eastern Zhejiang Province, which led to the dismissal of its director and another official.

A policeman had “deliberately hidden” information about a visit to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, in mid-January and continued working in the prison, said Xu Xiaobo, deputy director of the Zhejiang Provincial Justice Department.

“The policeman … was diagnosed with a new coronavirus on January 29. He had worked long hours and had contacted many people, which caused the infection of many prisoners,” Xu said.

“All cases were imported cases. All patients are observed in isolation and all confirmed patients are sent to treatment,” he added.

Xu said there were no deaths in prisons due to the coronavirus. A suspicious case was found at the Hubei juvenile detention center, he said.

Hubei announced Friday that a total of 411 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the province on Thursday, but then revised its figure to 631 to include prison numbers.

The groups emerged when the Chinese authorities signaled a fall in the new cases officially reported this week as evidence that quarantines and other drastic measures to contain the virus are working.

Most of China remains paralyzed for fear of contagion, with schools closed and Beijing ordering those returning to the city to stay in quarantine for 14 days.

New cases have also emerged in two hospitals in the country’s capital.

Health officials said 36 patients, medical workers and family members have been infected with the virus at Beijing’s Fuxing hospital, which has been partially closed since January 31.

An elderly woman who received kidney treatment at the Peking University Popular Hospital also tested positive after two infected relatives visited her earlier this month, the hospital said.

The virus spreads through disseminated drops when sneezing or coughing, highlighting the risks to large groups of people confined, possibly without adequate access to water and soap.

Members of China’s Uyghur minority living in exile have also warned of the risk of spreading the coronavirus in detention camps, where human rights groups say authorities have arrested more than a million people.

Times of India