China’s capital initiates mass virus tests
BEIJING (CHINA) – Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas on Friday, and Shanghai was having all hospital staff tested, as China battles its worst outbreak of the disease since March.
Mainland China reported a slight decline in new daily COVID-19 cases on Friday – 103 from 144 infections a day earlier.
Of the new cases, 94 were local transmissions, Heilongjiang province in the northeast reported 47 new cases. Shanghai confirmed six new cases and the capital, Beijing, reported three new cases.
Long queues were seen in some districts in Beijing, where mass testing was launched after witnessing several consecutive days of new cases. City officials said there were some “leaks” in epidemic control in some rural areas.
A man surnamed Lin said the supermarket he works at had told him to get a test. “I’m not that worried though this round of the outbreak is a bit unexpected. I came as my work unit told me to,” he said.
The northern port city of Tianjin said on Friday that all domestic arrivals should have a negative COVID-19 test and be subject to 14 days of home observation.
Hebei province, next to Beijing, reported 18 new locally transmitted cases. At the high-speed railway station in its largest city, Shijiazhuang, passengers were allowed to get off a train on Friday but none were seen getting on.
A woman surnamed Hao, in Shijiazhuang taking care of her mother, said, “I’ve never been separated from my daughter over New Year before”.
She said she had been told by her neighbourhood she was not allowed to return to Beijing, where the rest of her family are. She hoped restrictions would be removed in time for them so that they can get back together over the festival.
She said she was determined to get back to Beijing to be with her daughter and her father was in a nursing home there that no longer allowed visitors.
The capital’s west train station, which usually sees vast numbers of passengers ahead of the Lunar New Year, was deserted on Friday morning.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,804, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635.