Published: Wed, January 13, 2021

China puts 4.9 million people under lockdown to quash COVID-19 clusters

China puts 4.9 million people under lockdown to quash COVID-19 clusters

In China, food safety is threatened by an increasingly opaque political systemZhuang Deshui, deputy director of the Research Centre for Government Integrity Building at Peking University, said Xi's speech showed his confidence in China's political system and development."From his remarks, we can see that Beijing is very confident about China's major policies and all kinds of responsive measures, and Beijing is determined to walk its own path, unaffected by the outside world as it undergoes changes not seen in a century", he said.According to Zhuang, Xi's remarks also suggested Beijing would be more focused on domestic issues and improving the lives of Chinese than worldwide matters in the years to come.Peng Peng, vice-president of the Guangdong System Reform Research Society, a think tank, said the speech indicated new momentum at a time when China had largely contained the pandemic, and as the United States was in chaos amid a power transition."Xi is asking all officials to seize the strategic opportunities in these changing times and push Chinese society and the economy to a new stage of development", Peng said.

The news comes as China is bracing the country's largest COVID-19 outbreak in six months.

Residents of Langfang, a manufacturing hub around 55 kilometres south of Beijing, have been banned from leaving the city for seven days unless absolutely necessary. Of the 82 confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday, all of which were locally-transmitted, 77 were reported in Shijiazhuang and the other five in the city of Xingtai.

This is the first time the country's daily infection number has surpassed 100 since last July. However, local authorities are implementing strict curbs whenever new cases emerge to prevent the kind of economic paralysis seen a year ago.

Officials will now rush to test all 4.9 million residents in two days, the local health bureau said, after one case was discovered in Langfang's Gu'an county.

And Wuhan, where COVID-19 first emerged in late 2019, on Monday launched contact tracing work because two confirmed COVID-19 patients reported in Hebei province had been to the city.

"We have to be careful as we're near Guan, where COVID cases were reported today", said a volunteer security officer surnamed Wang.


Researchers said the most recent data included results from a group of participants who reported "very mild" cases of infection, which explains the huge discrepancy between the two figures.

At a Beijing highway checkpoint near the border with Hebei, police officers in protective gowns ordered a vehicle entering Beijing to return to Hebei after the driver was unable to show proof that he had passed a COVID-19 test.

A new guideline issued by the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control recommended that taxi and ride-hailing operators suspend car-pooling services, the Communist Party-backed Beijing Daily reported on Tuesday.

People line up to get their nucleic acid test in the courtyard of a hospital following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Beijing.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China now stands at 87,591, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

Authorities do not classify asymptomatic cases as confirmed COVID-19 infections. Seven of those were reported in Jilin, another northeastern provicne that borders Heilongjiang, underscoring the risk of transmission into differnet parts of the country.

Hebei, now the hardest-hit Chinese province with the most local COVID-19 patients this winter, reported 40 new confirmed cases on Tuesday.

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