China expands restrictions to province near Beijing to contain Covid


China on Tuesday expanded restrictions for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) to a province near the capital Beijing after a spike in infections, according to state-run media.

A major political conference scheduled for Jan. 25 in virus-hit Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei near Beijing, has been postponed following the recent spike, according to state-run media.

In the Hebei province, the cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai have reported Covid-19 outbreaks for the past two weeks as infection numbers rise.

Just north of Hebei, Beijing has also tightened measures to block the spread of the virus, including a highway closure.

Several medical teams from other provinces left for Hebei to help the healthcare system there and stem the spread of the virus, which was first reported in the city of Wuhan in December 2019 and has since spread around the world.

The provincial government of Shanxi, which neighbors Hebei, also announced mass nucleic acid tests after the report of two Covid-19 cases.

Shanxi is the latest place to discover Covid-19 cases related to Hebei. Many places across China have sped up the screening of individuals that may be connected to the Hebei outbreak.

The city of Jinzhong in Shanxi on Tuesday also canceled all group activities, including wedding ceremonies, and banned car and bus services from Hebei.

On Monday, the province in northern China saw daily cases spike above the 100 marks for the first time in at least five months.

Some districts have asked primary school students to start their winter holidays on Tuesday, and students in grades 1 and 2 will begin their break on Wednesday, according to state-run media.

ocal authorities have enforced a de facto lockdown to fight the virus. Traffic to and from affected areas has been restricted, while local railways have suspended trains.

China’s National Health Commission said in a statement that 55 more cases of Covid-19 are reported in the last 24 hours, with 40 being in Hebei and one in Beijing.

China has reported 87,591 cases of the Covid-19, including 4,634 deaths, since the outbreak.  CURRENTPH

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