Chinese health officials said, on Sunday, that 500,000 of its citizens have been placed in a renewed lockdown due to a spike in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
The lockdown has been put in place in Hebei Province’s Anxin County, about 150 kms (90 miles) south of Beijing. It will mean the country will be “fully enclosed and controlled”, experiencing the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.
Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out, once a day, to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.
The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total number of cases in the city of over 20 million to 311.
After China appeared to have largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing, and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province in recent weeks.
The current outbreak was first detected in mid-June, and has been traced back to Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market. The market supplies much of the city’s fresh produce, with the latest rise in infections sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.
Nearly a third of cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers have been placed in one-month quarantine, city officials said Sunday.
Businesses in Anxin County had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, the state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported.