Chinese authorities sealed off a city of almost five million people and imposed strict travel restrictions on several others on Tuesday as they worked to quash a number of Covid-19 clusters near Beijing, reports AFP.
The country had largely curbed the spread of the virus, with small outbreaks swiftly stamped out out using mass testing, local lockdowns and travel restrictions.
But Hebei province in northern China has reported 560 new cases in recent weeks, 234 of which are asymptomatic, sparking a raft of new lockdowns and restrictions.
Residents of Langfang, a manufacturing hub around 55 kilometres south of Beijing, have been banned from leaving the city for seven days unless absolutely necessary.
“All family gatherings should be cancelled…all marriages postponed and funerals simplified until the epidemic situation has subsided,” the Langfang city government said in a statement. Officials will now rush to test all 4.9 million residents in two days, the local health bureau said, after one case was discovered in Langfang’s Gu’an county.