Chinese city Harbin locked down after NYU student allegedly sparks outbreak

A northern Chinese city went into lockdown after local officials claim a New York University student brought the coronavirus when she returned home from the US, according to reports.

Harbin, which has a population of 10 million, restricted travel Wednesday after the 22-year-old graduate student was accused of sparking a local outbreak that ultimately infected at least 70 people, the Daily Mail reported.

The student, who was only identified by her last name Han, returned from New York to her hometown on March 19, according to Harbin Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Han went through a 14-day quarantine during which she showed no symptoms and tested negative for the virus, the Chinese outlet Southern Urban Daily reported. She was also cleared by an antibody test, which would have showed past infection.

But health officials believe she was a “silent carrier,” spreading the virus to her neighbor by contaminating the building, according to the Daily Mail. She later was found to have antibodies of the virus in two separate tests.

Meanwhile, her neighbor was believed to have spread the virus to an 87-year-old man, who held a gathering where others became sick, the outlet reported.

The elderly man was hospitalized twice for the virus, possibly infecting others during these stints, the report said.

Health officials claimed the man has been linked to at least 78 cases, which include relatives, patients and their families, and medical professionals, according to the report.

Harbin, which is the capital of Heilongjiang, ordered inbound traffic restricted Wednesday to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease, state media said.

The city banned entry to residential zones by non-locals and vehicles registered elsewhere.

Harbin has already ordered 28 days of quarantine for anyone arriving from outside China or other identified hotspots.

“All confirmed cases, suspected cases, close contacts of asymptomatic people, and close contacts of close contacts should be quarantined and tested,” the city government said, according to state media.

With Post wires

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