Beijing steps up preventive measures as COVID-19 cases surge
BEIJING (CHINA) – Beijing announced on Wednesday it will probe all individuals who entered the city from abroad from December 10 and close down a subway station after marking the biggest daily spurt in the number of new coronavirus cases in more than three weeks.
Authorities took these strict measures following the most severe outbreak of the infections in the country since March 2020 ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday season when millions of Chinese travel, stoking fears of yet another wave bringing the country to a standstill.
As many as 103 new coronavirus cases were reported on January 19, said the National Health Commission on Wednesday, down from 118 a day earlier. In the northeastern Jilin province, there were 46 new cases, setting another record in the number of daily new cases. Hebei province surrounding Beijing had 19 new infections.
There were seven new cases in the capital. Of these, six are in Daxing district and the subway operator said it shut down the Tiangong Yuan metro station near Daxing.
Communist Party-supported Beijing Daily said the party and government leadership of the party convened a meeting late on Tuesday and agreed to tighten curbs, minimise public gatherings and reduce the number of passengers in public transport.
China has adopted the tactic of allowing local governments to develop their own measures to battle the latest outbreaks, thus eliminating the widespread shutdowns during the height of the epidemic last year.
In northeast China, where most of the new cases have been detected, authorities have enforced measures such as lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing. Tens of millions of people have been put into home or centralised quarantine in Hebei, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.
On Wednesday, Songyuan city in Jilin ordered a lockdown for the main urban area and initiated mass testing. Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, has temporarily closed down businesses and public venues.