CHINA / SOCIETY
Three N.China cities of over 22 million people under lockdown amid fresh Hebei outbreak
Published: Jan 12, 2021 04:05 PM

Villagers pass through a COVID-19 check point near the entrance to a village in Zhengding county, Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei Province on January 6.Photo: VCG



Three cities in North China's Hebei Province - Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang - which were hit by the fresh COVID-19 outbreak, were put under lockdown on Tuesday. The three cities are home to more than 22 million people, double the population that was put under lockdown during the Wuhan epidemic. 

Vehicles and people in the three cities are not allowed to go outside, unless necessary, Hebei authorities said at Tuesday's media briefing. 

Langfang, which is half an hour away by car from Beijing, started to roll out citywide nucleic acid testing from Tuesday, and crossroads linking the city with the outside were put under 24-hour monitoring. 

Residents from other cities in Hebei Province beyond the three cities of Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang are encouraged not to enter Beijing amid the outbreak. Hebei Province has reported a total of 326 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday in the fresh outbreak, and 234 asymptomatic infections. 

About 70 percent of infections in the Hebei outbreak are farmers, most of whom are from the middle-aged and elderly groups, Li Qi, director of the Hebei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at the Tuesday press conference.

The results of the first and parts of the second round of citywide nucleic acid testing showed that the positive infections in Shijiazhuang that scattered around 12 counties and regions are highly clustered, and 76 percent of them were from Gaocheng district. Of the infections in Gaocheng, 95 percent were from Zengchun township.

Shijiazhuang started the second round of citywide testing on Tuesday, and a national nucleic acid testing team made up of 252 personnel from provinces including Zhejiang and Jiangsu were dispatched to the three Hebei cities under lockdown to provide support. 

Hebei was able to carry out about 1.1 million nucleic acid tests daily after the national support. 

In addition to Hebei Province, Wangkui county in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province was also put under lockdown on Monday, and the county has reported 71 asymptomatic infections in two days as of Tuesday. 

Global Times
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