Beijing to track down visitors as new wave of coronavirus strikes city

Authorities introduce a new programme for contacts of infected people, involving 14 days of quarantine followed by 7 days of home isolation and another week of tracking 

Beijing to track down visitors as new wave of coronavirus strikes city
A woman wearing a face mask rides a bicycle on the street on a snowy Beijing morning on January 19. Photo: Reuters

(ATF) Officials in the Chinese capital said on Wednesday (Jan 20) they would track down anyone who has entered the city from overseas in the last six weeks after reporting the biggest daily jump in new Covid-19 cases in more than three weeks.

The measures to be enforced in Beijing come amid the most severe coronavirus outbreak since March 2020, raising fears of a surge that could bring the country back into a debilitating standstill.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that a total of 103 new cases were reported on January 19, down from 118 a day earlier. 

China equity markets have been muted over the outbreak so far, with the Shenzhen composite index rising less than 1% in morning trading on January 19, while the Shanghai index remained flat. The tech-heavy Chinext index rose 2.8%

DISTRICT IN SPOTLIGHT

Jilin province in the northeast had a record 46 new cases, while Hebei province surrounding the capital reported 19 new cases.

Beijing reported seven new cases. Of these, six live in Daxing district and the city's subway operator said it shut down the Tiangong Yuan metro station located nearby. Five communities in the district have been locked down.

Authorities introduced a health management programme for all close contacts of the infected people in Beijing, involving 14 days of centralised quarantine followed by seven days' at-home isolation and another seven days of medical tracking. 

Multiple cities in Hebei, Jilin and Heilongjiang have conducted several rounds of nucleic acid testing for all residents following the discovery of infection clusters. 

NEW ROUND OF TESTING

Authorities in Shijiazhuang in Hebei and Tonghua in Jilin will organise a new round of nucleic acid testing in their cities. Shijiazhuang and two other cities in Hebei were also locked down seven days ago.

The Beijing Daily reported that the capital's Chinese Communist Party and municipal leadership met on Tuesday to further tighten monitoring, minimise public gatherings and reduce capacity in public transport.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in China now stands at 88,557, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635. The figures exclude cases reported in Hong Kong and Macau, which are Chinese territories but independently report their data. 

With reporting by Reuters

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