Hebei: China locks down 400,000 people after virus spike near Beijing

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China fears a possible second wave

China has reinstated a strict lockdown near Beijing, affecting around 400,000 people, after a small surge in cases.

The restrictions have come into force in Anxin country in Hebei province near the capital.

After the pandemic emerged in China at the end of last year, the country has managed to get new infections to a consistently low level.

To avoid a second wave, even small surges are taken very seriously by the country’s health authorities.

What is happening in Hebei?

Officials announced on Sunday that Anxin would be “fully enclosed and controlled”.

The restrictions are similar to those imposed at the height of the pandemic in Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged, earlier this year.

This means only essential workers are allowed to leave their homes, while one member of a household is allowed to go out once a day to shop for necessities.

Anxin is around 150km (90 miles) south of Beijing. Chinese media say there have been 18 cases in Anxin since the beginning of the recent surge in Beijing two weeks ago.

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What is the situation in Beijing?

China’s recent numbers remain the envy of most other countries hit by the virus. Yet a recent spike in Beijing has authorities fearing a possible second wave.

Over the past 24 hours, Beijing reported 14 new cases of the virus, taking the total since a mid-June outbreak in a food market to 311.

While this is a small number compared the thousands of daily cases in the US or South America, China reacted quickly to contain any spread.

Several neighbourhoods in Beijing were put under restrictions, travel was limited, and a massive wave of fresh testing was rolled out.

Before the recent spike, the Chinese capital had gone 57 days without a locally-transmitted case.

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Thousands who work at the market are now being tested

How is the rest of China dealing with the virus?

In general, China has successfully “flattened the curve” in recent months.

After passing 80,000 confirmed cases at the start of March, it has added only around 4,700 since then.

Since mid-June, new infections have been mostly limited to Beijing with some spill over into neighbouring Hebei.

The rest of China has seen only a small trickle of single-digit infections, most of which were imported cases, which means travellers returning from abroad.

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