January 18, 2022
BEIJING – The genome of Beijing’s newly reported COVID-19 case during the weekend is highly similar to the variant strains detected in North America and Singapore as shown by gene sequence analysis, a senior official of the capital’s disease control and prevention center said at a news conference on Monday morning.
After lab analysis of the case sample, the result shows this Omicron strain is different from previous cases in Beijing or cases reported recently in other provinces, which means it does not belong to the same transmission chain, said Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is highly similar to certain strains in North America and Singapore from December,” she said. “The patient had not been to other cities in past 14 days. However, the case had recently received international mail.”
An international package was sent from Canada on Jan 7 and arrived in Beijing through the United States and Hong Kong SAR on Jan 11.
The patient had touched the outer surface of the mail package and the first page of the document within.
According to the center, 22 environmental samples of the mail have been collected, including two from the surface, two from the inside of the surface packaging and eight from the paper in the document. All samples tested positive.
Pang said it’s possible the patient was infected by the items from overseas.
She reminded the public not to buy things too frequently from overseas during the epidemic and wear masks and disposable gloves when receiving mail from abroad to reduce direct contact.
At present, 69 close contacts of the case have been placed under control, and all their nucleic acid test results were negative.
By Monday morning, 16,547 samples of close contacts were collected. The samples of all personnel, including those living and working with the patient, were negative.