A man who returned to China from abroad after completing the required 21-day quarantine period has been discovered as the probable cause of a new epidemic, raising concerns about the long-term viability of the country’s strict zero-Covid policy.

China’s Rigorous 21-Day Quarantine Is Being Called Into Question As A Fresh Epidemic Is Discovered

More than 60 individuals have been affected by the new epidemic in Fujian province, which is located on China’s southeastern coast. Among those afflicted are 15 primary school students. It emerged just 2 weeks after China successfully contained its worse coronavirus outbreak in much more than 1 year, highlighting growing challenges presented by the extremely infectious Delta variant, even in a country with a few of the world’s strictest and most far-reaching containment measures, including those in the United States.

China's Rigorous 21-Day Quarantine Is Being Called Into Question As A Fresh Epidemic Is Discovered

The most recent illnesses were discovered in two young boys on Thursday during a normal Covid test at a primary school in Xianyou county of Putian city, during a normal Covid test. Another kid and three parents responses to a detected the next day, according to a news conference held by the Putian municipal administration on Friday.

Experts advising the Chinese authorities have referred to one of the children’s parents, a father who had just returned from Singapore, as the most probable cause of the epidemic, despite the fact that the guy had undergone a long quarantine upon his arrival in the country.

The guy landed in Xiamen, a prominent coastal city in Fujian province, on August 4, in which he was subjected to a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine before being released. According to the Putian government, he spent another 7 days in centralized quarantine at a specified spot in Xianyou before coming back home for another week of health monitoring.

According to state media, he had tested negative again for the virus nine9 times during his 21-day quarantine before testing positive on Friday, 37 days after arriving in China.

China’s border controls and obligatory quarantine procedures for foreigners arriving in the country are among the most stringent anywhere in the world. Having successfully contained the original epidemic in Wuhan, the Chinese government has accused every subsequent local flare-up on transfer from outside, which has occurred either via tourists or through imported products.

Officials in China did not say how or when the guy became infected with the virus, although an incubation period of more than 21 days is very rare. A study conducted by researchers discovered that the Delta variation had an average incubation time of 4 days, while the original strain had an average incubation of 6 days.

Some have speculated via social media that the guy may have contracted the illness after returning to Xianyou after his travels. According to the Putian administration, there have been 32 recorded incidents and 32 asymptomatic illnesses recorded in the province as of Sunday afternoon. 

Chinese authorities maintain separate records of proven and suspected instances of the virus and do not include asymptomatic bearers of the virus as part of the official total of confirmed cases. In addition, infections have spread to other cities across the province. China’s National Health Commission announced on Monday that six instances of locally transmitted hepatitis A had been recorded in Quanzhou and one in Xiamen.