Infections Continue to Climb in Sichuan's Tawu County

Medical workers carry out an inspection in Sichuan's Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in a February 2020 photo.
Photo from Tibet

Confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Sichuan’s Tawu county are continuing to climb, with three new cases reported on Wednesday bringing the total to 60, all of them ethnic Tibetans, sources in the region say.

In a Feb. 19 statement, the Health Commission of the Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in which Tawu (Daofu) county is located, described the new patients as an 18-year-old male, and two women aged 53 and 43.

All are natives of Tawu with no history of traveling to other areas, the Health Commission said, adding, “All those who have been in close contact with the patients have been identified, and are being held in isolation for medical observation.”

As of Wednesday, 65 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in the Kardze prefecture, with 60 identified in Tawu, two cases in Dartsedo (Kangding), two in Serthar (Seda), and one in Dabpa (Daocheng), state media said.

Tawu is now second only to Hubei province, where the infection first began to spread, as the area of China hardest-hit by coronavirus infection.

Reached by RFA for comment and speaking on condition of anonymity, two sources familiar with the situation in Tawu described all 60 patients infected in Tawu as ethnic Tibetan and residents of the county. Among those infected are all 10 members of one family and two other families with four members each, one source said.

Also speaking to RFA, sources in Tawu said on Feb. 19 that shops and restaurants in the county remain closed and that all Tawu patients infected with the virus have now been taken to Kardze’s Dartsedo county for medical treatment.

Continued caution urged

Meanwhile, the Kardze Prefecture Health Commission on Feb. 19 advised continued caution, adding that 410 persons believed to have had close contact with cases of infection are now being held in Kardze under observation.

“For the foreseeable future, people should avoid going out as much as possible, and should avoid gatherings and crowds,” the Health Commission added.

“Also, try to avoid using public transportation. Be sure to open windows when riding in private cars, and avoid going into closed and poorly ventilated public places,” the Commission said.

A notice issued on Feb. 18 by authorities in neighboring Qinghai province’s Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture meanwhile said that roads previously closed in the prefecture have now been reopened, allowing normal traffic flows in the counties of Serchen (Gonghe), Trika (Guide), and Tsigorthang (Xinghai).

“The government has now authorized businesses to operate as usual, and everything can be opened to the public again,” one source in Tsolho said.

Reported by Lobsang Chophel and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.


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