Lockdown lifted, but exodus from Chinese city hindered by new coronavirus test rule

first_imgResidents of China’s Xianning city eager to travel after a two-month lockdown faced an unexpected hurdle only hours after the borders were opened — they needed to pass a new rapid detection test to show they didn’t have the coronavirus.Dozens rushed to the city’s largest hospital but were told the hospital was no longer doing the nucleic acid tests and were advised to try hospitals in nearby villages or towns.The test uses genetic material from throat swabs and normally takes a few hours for a result. “If we can’t get the nucleic acid test how can we leave? I can’t get on the train, I’ve bought my ticket but I can’t leave,” Shen Jianning, 51, said on Thursday morning.Shen, who wants to return to his job on a metro construction project in Shanghai, rushed to Xianning Central Hospital at around 4 a.m. on Thursday in hopes of getting a nucleic acid test, but was told by doctors there that they no longer were doing the tests and he had to find an alternative.Signs pasted on glass doors of the hospital, the city’s largest, said people should go to village or town hospitals to get the tests done.Xianning announced the test requirement on its official WeChat account on Wednesday, the day Hubei province, epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak and home to 60 million people, removed much of its lockdown transport measures. Topics :center_img The lifting of the Hubei lockdown is a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus in China. More than 80% of COVID-19 cases and 96% of deaths in mainland China have been in Hubei.The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year and which has had 54% of cases, remains under lockdown until April 8.The order to use the rapid-detection test came after news that a man who had travelled from the city last week had later tested positive when he returned to work in Guangdong province.The lifting of the lockdown has been accompanied by both relief and worry, with several people in Xianning telling Reuters they were unnerved by the case of the man who had travelled to Guangdong.”My Shanghai boss has called me a few times asking me to get out as soon as possible. He even prepared the proof of work resumption for me. He told me what processes you need to do we will help you, just think of a way to get out,” Shen said.Shen, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, had been trapped in Xianning after travelling to the city to see a house he had bought there.Stuck, inside or out Millions of people were caught in Hubei or stuck outside it as China imposed draconian measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, an approach that has proven effective, with reported new domestically transmitted cases falling to zero on most recent days, even as imported cases persist.On Thursday morning, about 30 people queued outside Xianning Central Hospital, all of them required to complete a form declaring whether they had recently come back from overseas or been in any high risk areas.Some in the queue said they were lining up for a nucleic test, but were unclear where they could get it done. A number were trying to get back to Guangdong province to work.”I saw on Douyin that a few hundred people came here yesterday, there were lots of people,” said He Ting, referring to the Chinese version of TikTok.She has been stuck in Xianning since Lunar New Year in January and was trying to get back to her job in the southwestern city of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, and was also unable to get the test at the hospital “I’m trying to figure out another way,” she said.At the Xianning Yongan Health Service Centre, a community health centre, more than a hundred people milled in and outside its gates. A long queue snaked with people clutching paper slips with numbers on them. Some said they were told that results would take a day or two.”I came here to queue but they told me I needed to register and then wait for a call on when it’s my turn,” said a man as he got on his electric scooter to leave.”I need to get back to my job in Dongguan. But now I don’t know when I can leave.” last_img read more

Rodgers hopes Sterling will stay

first_img The 20-year-old, who the club are trying to tie down to a new long-term contract, is reportedly of interest to Bayern Munich. After striker Luis Suarez was sold to Barcelona in the summer, the club can ill-afford to lose their next potential world-class star if poor results prevent them returning to the Champions League on a regular basis. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident Raheem Sterling will not follow the talent drain out of Anfield despite a season which has failed to take off so far. “Hopefully it is not going to be the case. We are trying to build something here,” said Rodgers. “We were on a path for a couple of years and we have had to come off that path since the summer having lost some players and have had to regroup. “He is a real talisman for this team. He has been a great example of the progress that a lot of the players have made here. “He has gone from a youth team player to one of the top young players in European football. “The club, I am sure, will work very hard (on his contract) and Raheem is happy here, he loves being a Liverpool player. “I am sure between them and the representatives we can get a deal done which will see him go on to continue to develop what is an exciting career. “I will never be surprised teams will be linked with Raheem as he is such a big talent at 20, a wonderful young player, but I am quite relaxed about it.” Sterling found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons at the weekend after missing Liverpool’s best chances in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester United. Rodgers insists the youngster is not being affected by the debate over his future. “I think Raheem has been brilliant, absolutely outstanding, added Rodgers, ahead of a crucial Capital One Cup quarter-final at SkyBet Championship leaders Bournemouth. “The kid’s played in a front role for me at the weekend – a role he has played before as a youngster – but I don’t think it is affecting him one bit. “Okay he maybe could have got a goal or so but he puts defenders on the back foot, he is intelligent in his game, has running ability, and is getting himself into some wonderful positions. “The kid has been a real catalyst for us in terms of our attacking threat so I don’t think there is anything which has affected him. “He leaves his representatives to work with the club to hopefully organise the deal for him and he has no real influence in that. “All I ask him to do is concentrate on playing football and the performances will come and he has shown consistently he has been a real threat.” Press Associationlast_img read more