United efforts from both the government and society have boosted China's ability to bring its recent surge of COVID-19 cases under control.
The latest outbreak mainly originated from a flight that departed from Russia and landed in Nanjing, the capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. Further viral genome sequencing has found that all cases related to the recent resurgence of COVID-19 were the highly infectious Delta variant.
About half of the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland have reported new infections, according to He Qinghua, a senior official with the National Health Commission.
On Wednesday, the Chinese mainland reported 61 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, of which 37 were reported in the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu, the National Health Commission said in its daily report on Thursday.
"The proportion of elderly people infected with the coronavirus is very high in Yangzhou, which poses a challenge to medical treatment, but we are trying our best to cure the patients," said Zhou Minghao, deputy director of the Jiangsu Provincial Health Commission.
Yangzhou launched its sixth mass nucleic acid testing campaign on Wednesday. Jiangsu has mobilized more than 4,000 medical workers and thousands of volunteers and community workers to deter the spread of the virus.
Zhu Qianyun, in her 20s, volunteered to facilitate the first three mass nucleic acid testing drives at a testing point in a primary school in Yangzhou.
Her main job was helping senior citizens fill in their information before testing, and answering their questions.
"We were racing against time to help more seniors get tested. Some of them had poor hearing so I had to speak loudly. The weather was hot and humid and I felt dizzy and my hands were shaking by the end of the day," said Zhu. "But I believe our efforts were worthy and I now thoroughly understand the heavy workload of frontline medics."
Community workers have also purchased daily commodities and medicines, and have offered door-to-door nucleic acid sampling services for the elderly.
After new infections were detected, authorities in central China's Hunan Province implemented swift response measures, winning the full cooperation of the public.
Wang Zhixuan, a 61-year-old retiree living in a community in Fenghuang, Hunan, one of China's top attractions with well-preserved architecture and clean streets, has been volunteering with the community workers at a nucleic acid testing venue since July 28.
"No one should stand aloof in the fight against the coronavirus. The outbreak will soon be under control if all of us get involved and do our duty," Wang said.
Many people have canceled trips and avoided going out too much to reduce the chance of contracting the virus. People whose travel histories overlapped with reported cases have volunteered to take nucleic acid tests, and local authorities in Zhangjiajie, where a new cluster of infections has emerged, have arranged free accommodation and food for stranded visitors.
Zhang Xue, a resident of north China's Tianjin Municipality, has opted to stay put instead of enjoying a long-planned trip.
"We shouldn't make any trouble for the country. If we insist on going on a trip, we put not only ourselves but also others at risk. Staying put is the best way to contribute to COVID-19 prevention and control work," said Zhang, 58.
After weeks of stringent anti-virus measures, Nanjing has seen a downward trend in COVID-19 cases with very few new locally transmitted cases reported this week.
Though the new Delta variant poses a big challenge in COVID-19 control and prevention, experts say China's current containment measures remain effective against the variant.
"It is not the first time China has fought against the Delta variant. We successfully contained the outbreak in Guangzhou, and the outbreak in Nanjing is gradually being brought under control," said Zhang Wenhong, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the Shanghai-based Huashan Hospital of Fudan University.
China's past experience in prevention, control and treatment remains effective so far, Zhang stressed.
"I've received two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine and take necessary prevention measures when I go out. I believe the government will do a good job in curbing the outbreak," said a resident surnamed Wang in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.