The Chinese authorities decided to isolate two cities south of the capital, Beijing. They cut off roads leading to them to prevent millions of citizens from leaving them, to stop the largest outbreak of the new Coronavirus “Covid-19” during the past 6 months.
And the French press agency “Agence France-Presse” reported that the Chinese province of Hebei recorded 127 new cases of Coronavirus last week, in addition to 183 cases that did not show symptoms.
China believes that it has managed to control the epidemic since it was first detected in Wuhan at the end of 2019. It succeeded in eliminating limited foci by conducting mass checks and imposing strict restrictions.
However, most of the new infections appeared in Shijiazhuang, which is inhabited by millions in Hebei Province, and 9 confirmed cases were recorded in Xingtai, which has a population of 7 million.
According to the agency, all cars and citizens were prevented from leaving the two cities, except in extreme necessity cases.
Officials are working to take strict measures to monitor people and cars’ movement, with all residential areas under closed management.
Also, Hebei residents were prohibited from entering the capital, Beijing, or leaving the province, except when necessary.
It quoted Lee Ki, head of the Hebei Epidemic Control Center, saying that new infections are coming from abroad. Still, government, provincial, and municipal experts conduct an in-depth investigation to find out the origin.
Officials in China consider that new domestic infections are entering the country from returning travelers and contaminated imported food packaging.
The concern is mounting at a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese are planning to travel to mark the Lunar Year, as celebrations continue between February 11 and 17, amid an increasing outbreak of the virus.
In turn, Kang Sen of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Authority says that mass celebrations, gatherings, and exhibitions are prohibited, adding that even funerals should be brief. Stressing the need to obtain prior approval for all public events.
Officials say measures were tightened in the two cities, in Hebei province, on Friday, and long-distance passenger service in the two cities was suspended, and highways were closed.
The authorities imposed disciplinary measures on 3 officials from Gaucheng district, the most affected area in the city, and the center of the last outbreak, due to what appeared to be negligence in combating the virus. In an indication of the pressure, the local authorities are under to eliminate the virus wherever it appears, according to the agency.