Following another COVID-19 outbreak, China seals two cities
China seems to be facing another large COVID-19 outbreak as the government has cut off transport for two cities south of Beijing and banned millions of residents from leaving.
The Hebei province of northern China has 127 new COVID-19 cases, with additional 183 asymptomatic infections last week.
Shijiazhuang city, which is home to 11 million people, has seen the maximum rise in coronavirus cases. Nine confirmed cases were also reported in the neighbouring city of Xingtai, which is home to another seven million people.
On Friday, Hebei authorities announced that residents of both cities are banned from leaving the city unless necessary. Officials also vowed to “strictly control the movement of people and vehicles” with residential areas placed under closed management aka lockdown.
In a press briefing, the head of Hebei Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Li Qi said, “The outbreak was imported from abroad, but the exact origins are currently under in-depth investigation by state, provincial and municipal experts.”
Meanwhile, Chinese officials have continuously tried to link the recurrent domestic outbreaks to the new strains of the COVID-19 virus circulating overseas. The government is fearing that the new strain was brought into China by returning travellers and contaminated imported food packaging.