Forced quarantine is becoming the treatment of choice as authorities tackle outbreaks of potentially pandemic contagious diseases. The town of Ziketan near Xinghai in Qinghai has been closed off following the death of a 32-year-old herdsman from pneumonic plague. Eleven other people, all relatives of the dead man, are reported to be infected. Ziketan has a population of 10,000. Hundreds of people around the country who have been suspected of being in contact with victims of swine flu, including tourists, have also been quarantined in recent months.
Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that this rainy season, reckoned to be the heaviest for 70 years, has left 70 dead and 51 missing across a broad swathe of southwest to eastern China since July 24. In all this year, rain storms have killed 307 people with 113 missing, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. The economic cost is put at 46.5 billion yuan ($6.8 billion).