Authorities in Hebei, Heilongjiang provinces are imposing lockdowns and mass testing in an attempt to curb the spread.
China has seen the largest daily increase in COVID cases in more than five months, despite strict measures to stem an outbreak that started in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing, as the Organization’s team of experts World Health Organization (WHO) investigating the origins of the coronavirus was due to arrive in the country.
Most of the new patients have been reported near the capital, but a province in northeast China has also seen an increase in the number of new cases, official data showed on Wednesday.
The National Health Commission said in a statement that a total of 115 new confirmed cases had been reported on the continent, up from 55 a day earlier. This is the largest daily increase since July 30.
The commission said 107 of the new cases were local infections. Hebei accounted for 90 of the cases – the highest number to date – while northeast Heilongjiang Province reported 16 new cases.
The new outbreaks come a day before a group of WHO experts arrived in the country investigating the origins of a virus that has now killed nearly two million people worldwide. The 10-member team is expected to travel to the central city of Wuhan, where cases of the disease first emerged at the end of 2019.
Much remains unknown about the origins of the virus and China has moved quickly to clean up and disinfect the now closed Huanan seafood market which was linked to the first case of respiratory illness.
Hebei has put three cities – Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang – on lockdown as part of efforts to stop the virus from spreading further, while Beijing authorities have stepped up testing and prevention measures to prevent another cluster to develop in the capital.
A third city #Chinato North-east #Hebei province has now entered lockdown following the discovery of new # COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE case. The approximately 23 million residents of Langfang, Xingtai and Shijiazhuang have been discouraged from entering Beijing, high-risk areas are severely restricted.
– Katrina Yu (@Katmyu) January 12, 2021
Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia, declared a COVID-19 emergency on Wednesday. The city of Suihua, which borders the provincial capital Harbin, has locked up its 5.2 million inhabitants.
Most of the cases in Heilongjiang were found in Wangkui County, which falls under Suihua’s jurisdiction and was sealed earlier this week.
Tieli, a town of around 300,000 people that borders Suihua, said Wednesday it would not allow any person or vehicle to leave for three days under new COVID-19 prevention measures.
China’s national planning agency said it expects travel during the Lunar New Year period next month to be significantly lower than normal, with a greater proportion of people using the car instead. than public transport. Many provinces have asked migrant workers to avoid traveling during the break, which is often the only time they can return home and see their families.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 38, including 15 in Hebei, according to the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency. Seven cases also emerged in Jilin, another northeastern province.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in mainland China now stands at 87,706, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.