Health

Beijing extends quarantine for overseas arrivals to three weeks

Beijing, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- People coming to Beijing from abroad must undergo one week of additional quarantine, besides the two weeks period that was mandatory until now, local media reported Wednesday.

The move will affect mostly Chinese citizens, given that foreigners, barring a few exceptions, have been banned access to the country.

This change, announced by the authorities of the Chinese capital, means that the number of weeks of mandatory confinement for all those arriving in Beijing from other countries rises to three.

Foreigners, except diplomats and some people linked to trade or medical research, are currently banned from entering China due to widespread infections of the novel coronavirus across the world.

Until now, people arriving from abroad were required to remain under a 14-day quarantine at a hotel or a center designated by the authorities. In some exceptional cases, the city’s residents were allowed to self-quarantine at home.

This is a step further in the government’s measures against the coronavirus, as it seeks to prevent another outbreak from cases coming from abroad, after apparently bringing domestic infections under control.

The Beijing authorities’ decision came soon after a student from the United States infected three members of his family after undergoing a two-week quarantine at a hotel, at the end of which he had tested negative for COVID-19.

Another 62 people, which include those who had close contact with the student and their families, have been placed in solitary confinement under medical observation.

Chaoyang district, where this incident occurred and where the financial center of the Chinese capital is located, is now the only area officially considered “high risk” in the entire country.

The deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s in Beijing, Liu Xiaofeng, explained that after the quarantine, residents of Chaoyang district should remain under observation inside their homes for seven days and take utmost personal protective measures.

Among other things, he recommended that they try to live alone or in a single room, eat alone, use special bathrooms when conditions permit, and reduce human contact.

Moreover, when entering a shared space with other family members, Liu recommended keeping a distance of more than one meter from them and ensuring all of them wear masks.

In the same district there was another case of linked to a Chinese woman who tested positive despite completing the quarantine period after arriving in Beijing from London on Mar. 20.

The woman had symptoms during the 14 days of confinement but took medications on her own and did not bring it to the attention of the observation staff at the designated center.

She was diagnosed with the virus on Apr. 4 and admitted to the intensive care unit at Chaoyang Hospital.

According to Beijing health authorities, the failure to report her symptoms caused delays in treatment and contributed to aggravating the woman’s condition.

Most experts and scientific studies estimate that the virus may have an incubation period of 1-14 days in the human body before symptoms appear, while the average is about five days.

However, these recent cases, along with some other local ones in China, have shown that the virus can remain asymptomatic for much longer. EFE-EPA

pk-vec/sc/ia

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