BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s southeastern province of Fujian, the focus of the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, reported its fifth straight day of new local infections, though cases remained contained in three cities on the coast.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that 50 new locally transmitted cases were reported for Sept. 14, compared with 59 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian.

That brings the total number of local infections in the three Fujian cities of Putian, where the outbreak began, Xiamen and Quanzhou to 152.

The infections come ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting on Oct. 1, a major tourist season, as well as a shorter Mid-Autumn Festival holiday next week.

The last domestic outbreak in late July to August disrupted travel, hitting the tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors.

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In an editorial on Wednesday, state tabloid Global Times said “such a big country like China cannot be frightened by a very local outbreak in Fujian”.

Local officials should not casually advocate blanket orders to stay put during the holidays, or turn such advocacy into a requirement, Global Times said.

“We need to gradually enhance the accurate efficiency of our dynamic zero-case route,” the newspaper said.

“We should avoid a complete halt on a large scale. We have to strive for early detection of each outbreak. We also need to make sure that we can contain it faster so that it will cause less harm to the society.”

Including imported cases, China reported 73 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Sept. 14, compared with 92 a day earlier, according to the National Health Commission.

China reported 16 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, compared with 20 a day earlier.

No new deaths were reported.

As of Sept. 14, mainland China had recorded 95,413 confirmed cases, with the cumulative death toll unchanged at 4,636.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu and Liangping Gao; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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