Nearly 18,000 workers were locked up at Shanghai’s main airport on Sunday and COVID-19 was tested overnight after authorities discovered seven cases of the facility’s cargo unit.
Social media is on dramatic smartphone videos showing a large crowd of workers crashing into guards in white hazmatt suits in the airport parking lot.
By Monday morning, local authorities seized the situations tweet videos of the 17,719 workers, they are waiting in line for the test, with calm piano music playing in the background. According to The Washington Post, it was not clear what happened to the workers after that – if they were still being held at the airport, they were moved to a quarantine facility or released home.
Local authorities reported that at least 11,544 tests were negative.
The lightning speed of closure and testing was created after a seventh case was identified and connected to the cargo unit. The first case identified was with a cargo handler who received a positive result on 9 November after reporting to a hospital with fever, fatigue and nasal congestion. His colleague gave a positive result the next day.
In the past three days – two weeks after the first two cases – five other cases have emerged. The five include a cargo filter operator, the employee’s wife, two other employees, and one employee’s wife.
According to the South China Post, one of the most recent cases is an employee of UPS’s international transit hub at Pudong Airport.
Wear the mask
Local authorities said at a news conference on Monday that they believed the first two cases were infected when a container from North America was cleaned together on October 30th.
“The environment inside the tank is humid, and that helps the coronavirus survive,” said Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of the Shanghai Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Sun added that the authorities have ruled out other transmission risks.
Hundreds of flights to the airport have been canceled since yesterday’s testing.
Zhou Junlong, vice president of Shanghai Airport Group, said that as he progresses, airport workers will have access to experimental vaccines approved for emergency use in China.