Coronavirus Panic: China Quarantines Entire Trains Heading into Beijing

Chinese health authorities ordered two high-speed trains bound for Beijing to “urgently stop” on Thursday so they could place all passengers and staff under a seven-day quarantine, saying they suspected “close contacts of a positive COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] case were onboard,” the state-run Global Times reported Friday.

China Railway Shanghai Group received a notice from East China’s Shandong Province Thursday afternoon saying a confirmed coronavirus patient “had boarded a train on October 18, and that two crew members were also on board during the same trip.” The provincial authorities said the two crew members in question were on board the Beijing-bound “G14 high-speed train from Shanghai and G108 from Jiaxing in East China’s Zhejiang Province” on Thursday, October 28.

“Citing health concerns, the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention asked the G14 and G108 to immediately stop at the nearest train station, and screen all people onboard for potential COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] infections,” according to the Global Times.

“The test results came on Friday morning [October 29], reporting all 344 passengers and the two crew members negative for COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus],” local authorities said.

Despite the negative test results, Beijing health officials have ordered all passengers and crew of both trains to remain in a state-controlled quarantine “at a designated hotel in Jinan in Shandong [province]” until at least next week.

Passengers prepare to board their train at the Hangzhou East railway station in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on October 20, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

Passengers prepare to board their train at the Hangzhou East railway station in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, on October 20, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“Quarantine will last for at least seven days, and two or three more nucleic acid tests will be taken,” a passenger of the G14 train from Shanghai to Beijing surnamed Cui told the Global Times on October 29.

China’s government restricted travel nationwide and issued lockdown orders across several major cities since October 17, when state health officials detected the first positive coronavirus case in the nation’s latest epidemic of the disease. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities have said the outbreak traces to a tour group from Shanghai that traveled to China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region in early-to-mid October. According to the CCP, members of the Chinese tour group contracted coronavirus from foreign sources in Inner Mongolia without providing any evidence of contacts abroad.

“Experts believe that the Ceke Port of Ejin Banner [in Inner Mongolia] is the most likely source of the virus through personnel and goods exchanges with the neighboring country of Mongolia,” the Global Times reported Thursday. Mainstream scientists do not consider coronavirus spread through contact with contaminated surfaces to be a significant mode of transmission.

China documented 48 new, locally transmitted coronavirus cases on October 28, bringing the total number of new infections to 326 since October 17. Beijing, China’s national capital, reported 27 new locally transmitted cases of the virus as of October 28.

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