China fired two health officials after a new virus broke out

BEIJING (AP) – The president and director of a health commission in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao have been fired after a recent outbreak of a coronavirus in China, officials said Thursday.

A brief notice on the official microblog of the Qingdao city government on Thursday states that Sui Zhenhua, director of the Health Commission, and Deng Kai, president of Qingdao’s Thoracic Hospital, are linked to the case and are under further investigation. No other details were given.

After authorities ordered a test of all 9 million people in the city, a total of 12 cases were found over the weekend that did not show signs, including China’s first domestic transmission in about two months.

A similar mass testing campaign has been conducted since the previous outbreak. The testing began with “closer contacts, closer contacts to those close contacts and more casual contacts,” the Qingdao health department said.

Qingdao is a major commercial port and industrial hub known for electronics and the country’s most famous liquor, as well as home to the Chinese navy’s northern fleet.

China, which discovered the coronavirus late last year, has largely eradicated the virus locally but is wary of imported cases and another wave of domestic transmission.

Qingdao reported on Wednesday that more than a million tests have been performed, with no additional cases found despite nearly a million results being returned.

On Thursday, the National Health Commission reported 11 new cases in the last 24 hours, 10 of which were imported. Another case listed as asymptomatic was found on September 24 and was classified as a confirmed case.

Hospitals were treating 240 people for COVID-19, while another 392 people were kept under isolation for testing positive without showing symptoms or for being a suspected case.

In China, 4,634 people have died in 85,622 cases of the disease.