Disturbing twist after country records first local Covid case in weeks

·2-min read

China's first local coronavirus case in weeks was a staff worker at a hospital and had received two shots of a vaccine between end-January and early February, state media has reported.

The patient, identified by her surname of Liu, had been working in the quarantine area of a hospital in Xian city since March 4, and was mainly responsible for collecting samples of quarantined people for Covid-19 testing, the Health Times reported on Saturday.

China reported the case on Thursday, making it the country's first locally transmitted case since February 14.

Two people wearing face masks riding their bikes during the coronavirus pandemic in Beijing.
People ride scooters in the street amid coronavirus pandemic in Beijing. Source: AAP

The Health Times, citing a joint expert group of Shaanxi province where Xian city is located, said Liu was infected after being accidentally exposed while in the hospital's quarantine area.

The publication quoted Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying the vaccine was "relatively safe" rather than "absolutely safe", but the public should not doubt domestic vaccines due to this case.

"The efficacy rate of domestic vaccines in preventing severe cases in China is more than 90 per cent, and the overall protection rate is more than 70 per cent," Mr Zeng said, adding coronavirus treatment hospitals were high-risk areas.

Thirty-three staff working in the quarantine area with Liu had negative nucleic acid test results and had undergone isolation.

The Health times did not specify which vaccine Liu had received.

China has four domestic Covid-19 vaccines for public use, with vaccines made by CanSino Biologics and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), receiving approval in February.

They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech, also approved last month, and another from Sinopharm's Beijing unit approved last year.

A fifth vaccine, developed by the Institute of Microbiology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was also approved for emergency use in China, the institute announced on March 15.

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