Monday, June 29, 2020
China 'seals off' more than 400,000 in Anxin county to tackle small Covid-19 cluster
Authorities have put almost half a million people in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, under lockdown as a fresh outbreak in the capital continues to fan fears of a second wave of the coronavirus.
Anxin county, about 145km (90 miles) from Beijing, has “sealed off” residential areas and restricted people from leaving their homes. Only one person from each household can leave once a day with a special pass to get necessities such as food or medicine, according to the measures announced and put into immediate effect on Sunday.
All other residents, aside from those who need medical help, are to stay at home until further notice, said local authorities. “Every village, neighbourhood and building must mobilise party members, volunteers, and staff” to join the “fight” against the outbreak, the notice said.
Authorities also called on the county’s roughly 440,000 residents to “supervise each other and strictly comply with relevant requirements”. Those who did not obey the measures would face “severe treatment by public security according to the law”, it said. “Every single person has responsibility when combating the virus,” the notice said.
The measures are similar to the stringent lockdowns imposed in Hubei province and other parts of the country at the height of the outbreak, when tens of millions of residents were ordered to stay home.
Officials said Anxin was adopting stricter measures out of an abundance of caution, not because the outbreak there was severe. State media reported that there had been 12 confirmed cases in Anxin county, where businesses had supplied fish to the Xinfadi market – the centre of the new cluster of cases in Beijing. Eleven of the cases were linked to the market, according to the Global Times.
More than 300 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Beijing since mid June when authorities discovered a new outbreak connected to the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market in the south-east of the city. On Monday, China reported 12 new cases, seven of them in Beijing.
Restrictions in Beijing have returned, with districts and companies requiring mass testing. Health authorities said that as of Sunday, a third of Beijing’s population had been tested for the virus.