China locks down city of 11 million after new Covid-19 outbreak

Beijing, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- Chinese authorities ordered the northeastern city of Shijiazhuang, home to some 11 million people, to go into lockdown on Thursday after 117 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed.

The new figures brought the number of daily coronavirus cases across China to its highest level in more than five months.

Noone in Shijiazhuang, located about 300 kilometres south of the capital Beijing, will be allowed to leave the city.

People living in the city’s Gaocheng district, where the largest number of cases have been reported, will be confined to the area.

According to the official Global Times newspaper, the city had collected more than 6 million test samples on Thursday as part of the campaign that began a day earlier to test all of the city’s residents for Covid-19.

Analysis was carried out on 2.4 million test samples on Thursday alone, with 11 new cases being detected.

Authorities in the city are cracking down in response to the new outbreak: three officials from Gaocheng, including the deputy governor and the deputy director of the district emergency department, were dismissed for failing to carry out their duties in tackling the epidemic, according to the Global Times.

Shijiazhuang international airport has cancelled 84 percent of incoming and 81 percent of outgoing flights, while traffic on 10 motorways which connect the city with Beijing has been suspended.

The city’s trains and long-distance bus operations have also been temporarily shut down.

In person classes at nurseries, primary and secondary schools were also cancelled Wednesday.

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