A Chinese city with a population larger than London was completely closed – and put on “war mode” – after coronavirus cases more than doubled.
The new outbreak in Shijiazhuang saw over 100 cases of Covid – the highest in China in five months – with schools and residential complexes closed and public gatherings banned.
Entry and exit of the city, the capital of northern Hebei Province, which is 180 miles from Beijing, has been suspended and the Shijiazhuang postal service has been suspended for three days.
5,000 mass test centers have been set up as the local government tries to curb the new surge of cases, which stands at 120 as of Thursday.
Xiaoguozhuang Village has been designated a “High Risk Area”.
Another 22 positive infections were registered across China, including in Xingtai, about 80 miles south of Shijiazhuang, where three new cases emerged on Monday.
Traffic connections have been severely reduced and flights canceled just weeks before the Chinese New Year on February 12, where traditionally many people travel across the country.
Feng Zijian, deputy director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Prevention, said State television This outbreak was likely due to the mutated strain that was “imported from Europe”.
Chinese experts from the CDC and the National Health Commission were shipped to Shijiazhuang and Xingtai.
Investigation teams have been deployed across the province to monitor contacts with those who have already tested positive.
Three officers in the Gaocheng District of Shijiazhuang were fined for “negligence,” the state reported China Daily.
The original virus epicenter was in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
According to a Reuters report, more than 85.66 million people have been infected and 1,854,372 people have died since then.