By Jackie Salo, nypost.com
One of Shanghai’s international airports descended into chaos after officials ordered mass COVID-19 testing for workers in response to a small cluster of cases detected among cargo handlers.
Footage showed people in hazmat suits trying to contain swarms of people overnight Sunday at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, as crowds filed into a temporary coronavirus testing center in a parking garage, the Guardian reported.
More than 17,700 employees stationed in the cargo-handling terminals underwent testing for the virus, according to Zhou Junlong, vice president of the Shanghai Airport Authority.
Wild scenes at Shanghai Pudong airport – multiple vids going around of what appears to be a sudden decision by authorities to test all staff for #COVID19 after 2 positive cases detected. Reports say authorities ultimately relented as things were getting out of hand. pic.twitter.com/Xenus4dHPR
— Bill Birtles (@billbirtles) November 22, 2020
So far, none of the 11,544 people whose tests have been returned have tested positive, Zhou said.
The mandatory testing came after two cargo handlers who cleaned a container that had just arrived from North America tested positive for the virus, officials said.
The strain detected in both cases was highly similar to that from North America, suggesting it could have come from overseas, said Sun Xiaodong, an official of Shanghai’s disease control center.
Neither of the infected workers was wearing a mask while cleaning the container, which had been sealed and was damp inside, Sun said.
“Research at home and abroad has shown coronavirus could live in enclosed, damp environments,” Sun said.
China detected 11 new cases Monday, including two local cases in Shanghai, the National Health Commission said.
Health officials, however, said they have not found a link between the airport cases and the most recent ones.
There have been more than 86,000 cases in the country since the pandemic began, including at least 4,634 deaths, officials said.
Main Picture: AP)