Harbin closes off communities and villages in wake of clustered infections

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/22 13:20:20

A staff measures body temperature in Hantang Village in Nanchang County, east China's Jiangxi Province, Feb. 3, 2020. Various measures are taken across China to combat the novel coronavirus. (Xinhua/Wan Xiang)

Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which has become the new hardest-hit region in China due to clustered infections caused by an imported case, has imposed a lockdown on all residential communities and villages. 

The gates of all communities and villages will be guarded, residents who enter and exit must hold a health code, wear masks and show normal body temperatures, while no other people and vehicles will be allowed to enter, according to the new measures adopted by the Harbin government. 

Visits and gatherings between families and friends have also been prohibited. 

Weddings and funerals are also banned under the new anti-epidemic policy, and all public events including performances, forums and exhibitions have been suspended. 

Clustered coronavirus infections in Harbin have further expanded and resulted in more new domestic infections than imported ones being reported for the first time in six weeks in China on Tuesday.

The chain of infection started from a Chinese student surnamed Han who had returned from New York and passed the virus on to her neighbor. 

The neighbor's family then held a gathering and one of the attendees, surnamed Chen, went to hospital after suffering a stroke, leading to clustered infections at two hospitals.

The infection chain continues to spread: seven more people were confirmed with COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, all of whom are patients and family members of patients from the Harbin hospitals. 

Harbin reported a total of 52 active confirmed cases and 23 asymptomatic infections as of Tuesday midnight, a massive rise compared with the numbers two weeks ago. 

At least 4,106 people were on the screening list of the two Harbin hospitals.

To ensure no one slips through the closed management system, the Harbin government said confirmed patients, suspected patients, close contacts, and the close contacts of close contacts as well as asymptomatic infections face quarantine. 

Residential blocks housing COVID patients or asymptomatic infections will be locked down for 14 days and installed with an electronic access control system. 

Local community workers will deliver daily necessities to them, and residents will have to undergo two nucleic acid tests and serum antibody tests. 

Those who lie or refuse to cooperate will be held responsible, and relevant personnel will also be held accountable for the spread of the epidemic if they fail to implement the epidemic prevention and control measures.

Harbin residents are encouraged to report those returning from overseas and other epidemic-hit parts of China but refused to undergo quarantine according to regulations. Once verified, they will receive a reward of 3,000 yuan. 

Local pharmacies will register the personal information of customers who purchase fever medicines, cough relief or antiviral drugs, including their ID card, telephone numbers and address, and will report the relevant information to the authorities. 

Newspaper headline: Harbin shuts villages, communities amid clustered infections

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