China gears up for possible surge in Covid cases

Chinese authorities are on high alert after an outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Hebei Province, situated next to Beijing, which includes the city of Shijiazhuang and its some 11 million people.

The provincial health committee of Hebei said on Wednesday that Shijiazhuang has confirmed 19 new Covid-19 patients, and Xingtai was reporting one new case, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Shijiazhuang plans to test all residents, according to a Chinese state tabloid.

The province has declared a “state of war” against the coronavirus, and is reportedly conducting nucleic acid Covid-19 tests.

Official data also are keeping track of asymptomatic cases separately. Authorities said 41 patients are showing no symptoms of Covid-19 in Shijiazhuang, and two asymptomatic cases exist in Xingtai.

New outbreaks are being reported in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in February. The annual event has seen hundreds of millions of Chinese leaving cities to visit families in rural areas.

But Wednesday, authorities in Shijiazhuang said all intercity buses had been suspended temporarily. Any city resident who plans to board a train or plane also is required to submit a nucleic acid test result within 72 hours. SOVEREIGNPH


Some of the patients in Shijiazhuang reportedly attended weddings and funerals and took exams, raising official concerns of the virus’ spread, according to Yonhap.

China previously claimed “victory” over Covid-19 and has been promoting a new vaccine from state-owned supplier Sinopharm. SOVEREIGNPH

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