COVID-19 in China

Clay Curtis
January 13, 2021

"More than 20k people in 12 villages in Zengcun county of Gaocheng district in N China's Shijiazhuang have been transferred to designated quarantine areas for medical observation since Monday".

The National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that a total of 55 new COVID-19 cases were reported, down from 103 a day earlier.

This is the first time the country's daily infection number has surpassed 100 since last July. The province has put three cities - Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang - into lockdown as part of the efforts to keep the virus from spreading further.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Wednesday the government is expanding a state of emergency to seven other prefectures in central and western Japan to curb an escalating surge of new coronavirus cases.

China's Ministry of Transport has called on local authorities to strengthen control over passenger traffic plying in and out of areas designated medium- and high-risk for COVID-19 to curb the latest resurgence in cases.

Two counties under Langfang's jurisdiction which border Beijing - Guan and Sanhe - have already announced home quarantine measures.

In a village in the south of Beijing that shares a border with Hebei, residents were stopping vehicles and asking to see health-tracking codes on mobile phones.

Security measures will be tightened on highways and railroads leading to the three cities, the committee said.

By the end of Tuesday, a total of 4,451 imported cases had been reported on the mainland.

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A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community COVID-19 testing site in Xinhua District of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 12, 2021.

At a highway checkpoint, police in protective gowns ordered a vehicle entering Beijing to return to Hebei after the driver was unable to show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

A new guideline from the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommended that taxi and ride-hailing operators suspend car-pooling services, and that drivers should get weekly DNA tests and be vaccinated in order to work, the ruling Communist Party-backed Beijing Daily reported.

A steady trickle of new coronavirus cases has surfaced in China's northern provinces since October, prompting strict restrictions despite the number of infections being small compared to outbreaks in many other countries.

Elsewhere, Heilongjiang province reported 36 new asymptomatic cases in Wangkui county, which also went into lockdown on Monday.

A weak and slow COVID-19 response at the grassroots level, which includes a failed surveillance and reporting system in villages, has spawned the recent domestic cluster infections, experts said.

Jinzhong City in the province reported one confirmed case on Tuesday.

Underscoring the risk of the spread, the city of Changchun - the capital of northeastern Jilin province - reported seven new asymptomatic patients on January 11, four of whom had travelled from Wangkui recently. The U.S. also leads in the overall number of COVID-19 infections with 22.8 million out of the world's 91.5 million total cases, including 1.9 million deaths.

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