20 million under Covid lockdown in China

Beijing: China locked down a city of 4.9 million residents near Beijing as authorities continued to battle a surge in Covid-19 infections across the country, many of them linked to cases from the northern province of Hebei bordering the capital.

The lockdown of Langfang city was announced, with authorities saying residents have been put under home quarantine for a week and will be subject to mass nucleic acid testing.

Chinese experts fear the new wave of infection could be spreading undetected in villages with nearly 70% of the new 305 new Covid-19 infections in Hebei being farmers, a state media report said.

Guan and Sanhe, two counties under Langfang’s jurisdiction that border Beijing, had already announced home quarantine measures.

The new measures mean that three cities in Hebei including capital Shijiazhaung – with 11 million residents – and Xingtai with more than 7 mn population have now been locked down with no residents allowed to leave unless necessary.

Stringent closure and control measures have been put in place in the three cities, state media reports said as highways from the cities have been shut down.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported 55 new Covid-19 cases for Jan 11, down from 103 a day earlier.

The Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, accounted for 40 of the 42 locally transmitted infections, with the capital and northeastern Heilongjiang province reporting one local case each, the NHC said.

Chinese health experts have warned that silent infections in villages have become a new and big challenge for China, judging from the ongoing Shijiazhuang outbreak and previous outbreak in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), a report in the tabloid, Global Times said.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reported in mainland China stood at 87591 as on Jan 12, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634. (Hindustan Times)

Image courtesy of npr.org

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