Gatherings under spotlight as Hebei reports 46 more COVID-19 cases
Published: Jan 10, 2021 10:54 AM

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community in Yuhua District of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Jin Haoyuan)

The COVID-19 outbreak in North China's Hebei Province continues to worsen as the province reported another 46 confirmed cases and 13 asymptomatic cases on Sunday, some of whom had been to weddings, fever clinics, school canteens and funerals. 

Of the confirmed cases, 44 were from the epicenter Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei. All 13 asymptomatic cases were also reported in the city. Epidemiological investigations showed that many of them had been to weddings and funerals before being confirmed as infected, including one bride.

Some of the confirmed patients were from Shijiazhuang's Gaocheng district, which was recently labelled a high-risk region. The city will soon roll out its second round of citywide COVID-19 screening to find all potential infections, local authorities said.

Gaocheng issued a notice on Saturday encouraging locals to report those who had not received nucleic acid tests and promised rewards of 500 yuan. 

People who have not received tests will be given compulsory testing and put under quarantine for 14 days, if they are found after the city's massive testing scheme has ended, it said.

Another two confirmed patients were reported from Nangong, a subcity belonging to the city of Xingtai. One of them worked at a fever clinic.

Nangong is also expected to roll out its second-round of nucleic acid testing from Sunday, the local government announced.

Moreover, railway stations in Hebei have suspended the sales of tickets to Beijing starting from Saturday. Passengers must offer negative nucleic acid tests taken within 72 hours if they want to travel to Beijing by train. 

Both Shijiazhuang and Xingtai have stopped sales of train tickets to all other cities. The two cities required locals to stay at home for another seven days to curb the spread of the virus. 

In order to curb the spread of the outbreak, it is necessary to strengthen traffic management and control in regions around Beijing, Hebei and in key areas within the province, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan stressed during her visit to the province.

Since Wednesday morning, Shijiazhuang has carried out nucleic acid testing among all its residents, and has so far completed testing on 10,251,875 people. A total of 354 people returned positive results, of whom 298, or 87 percent, are in Gaocheng district, authorities said on Saturday.

Global Times 

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