Nanjing’s Lukou International Airport, where infections in China’s latest clusters of COVID-19 cases were first reported, resumed domestic flights on Aug 26 following a suspension lasting over a month as part of efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A working team sent to Jiangsu province by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council to fight the COVID-19 epidemic withdrew from the province on Aug 26, the National Health Commission announced.
This round of epidemic, which started from the airport, is a public health incident caused by the Delta variant of the virus from overseas, the commission said.
It is the most extensive epidemic domestically since the one that started in Wuhan in late 2019, it said.
Two flights, one to Qingdao, Shandong province, and the other to Chengdu, Sichuan province, took off from the airport on the morning of Aug 26 after experts confirmed that it could resume operation safely.
The airport, which handled more than 1.95 million passengers in June, reported that a group of workers tested positive for the virus on July 20.
Some cabin cleaners got infected with the Delta variant while cleaning an airplane that had arrived from Russia and then infected many other workers and passengers at the airport.
It suspended domestic passenger flights on July 23 and international flights on July 28 for quarantine and thorough disinfection.
More flights will take off and land at the airport on Aug 27, including flights to Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Chengdu.
Wang Siyuan, deputy secretary-general of Jiangsu’s provincial government, said the airport and neighboring areas have been thoroughly disinfected and sterilized.
“Health workers have disinfected more than 9 million square meters of the areas,” he said.
“The areas near the airport and all the living environments of the infected people have been disinfected to eliminate the virus.”
Nanjing had lifted all lockdowns in its residential communities by Aug 26.
One of the areas near the airport, the Lukou subdistrict, had been quarantined since July 21, with nearly 140,000 residents from 50,000 households asked to stay home. More than 1,100 health workers, 3,000 volunteers and 2,000 Party members and government workers provided daily supplies to them and launched many rounds of nucleic acid tests.
“Our life has returned to normal,” Nan Peng, who lives in the subdistrict, said on Aug 26.
“Life under quarantine was difficult. I couldn’t go downstairs and could just walk repeatedly in the three rooms of the apartment. But sometimes you need to sacrifice for the bigger picture. Now I’m free to go wherever I want in the city without worrying about the virus.”