World News

COVID-19 reinfection cases on the rise in China

By Elizabeth Shim   |   Feb. 21, 2020 at 10:20 AM
Chinese patients who were discharged from hospitals are testing positive for COVID-19, according to Chinese state media. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI A woman wears a protective face mask while shopping at a popular Western grocery store that is virtually empty in Beijing on Friday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Several patients of the deadly coronavirus in China who were discharged from care are testing positive for COVID-19 again, according to Chinese state media.

Beijing-owned newspaper People's Daily reported Friday a former patient in Szechuan Province in southwest China tested positive for the killer virus behind more than 2,200 deaths in the country.

The patient was discharged from a local hospital and was quarantined for 14 days at home, an apartment in the city of Chengdu, according to the report.

On the 10th day of the isolation period, which was Wednesday, the patient was confirmed for the virus, following a DNA test at a designated hospital.

The patient and the patient's family reportedly never left the apartment under quarantine, and had items delivered to their home by the building's management, according to Chinese state media.

The reinfection case in Chengdu is not unique, according to physician Zhao Jianping, a respiratory and critical care specialist at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan. Zhao said one his patients tested positive for the virus after being discharged.

Zhao told Chinese state media a discharge judgment should be "made carefully."

Ceng Yan, a professor of medicine at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, said false negative test results continue to be a source of problems in the city that is at the epicenter of the Chinese epidemic.

China is also struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons, where inmates are clustered in cells.

Beijing's Prison Administration Bureau said Friday at a press briefing five prisons in the provinces of Hubei, Shandong and Zhejiang are reporting outbreaks of COVID-19 among inmates.

The Chinese prisons affected include an all-women's prison in Wuhan with 230 patients, a prison in Wujin, Hubei Province with 41 confirmed patients and nine suspected patients, and Rencheng Prison in Shandong Province with 200 confirmed patients and 10 suspected cases.

Shilifeng Prison, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, has 34 confirmed patients. The outbreak at the prison began after a prison guard "concealed" he had visited Wuhan from Jan. 14 to 19, Chinese authorities said.