Millions more in lockdown in China


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Wednesday the government is expanding a state of emergency to seven other prefectures in central and western Japan to curb an escalating surge of new coronavirus cases.

Chinese health experts warned that the coronavirus spreading in China appears to be more infectious and transmissible, and asymptomatic infections, especially silent infections in villages, has become a new and big challenge for China, judging from the ongoing Shijiazhuang outbreak and previous outbreak in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

People practise social distancing as they line up for a second round of testing in Shijiazhuang, China.

The province reported 16 confirmed cases and 12 asymptomatic cases as of 12 p.m. Tuesday.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases on the mainland reached 87,706 by Tuesday, including 784 patients still receiving treatment, 21 of whom were in severe condition.

Most of the new patients were reported near the capital Beijing, but a province in northeast China also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed on Wednesday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people under home quarantine.

"In the period leading up to Lunar New Year, we urge the public that those who do not need to travel, should not travel, and if one must travel, please observe all travel information and try to stagger travel to off-peak times", Wang Bin, an official with the National Health Commission, told a news conference.

The number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 81 in the mainland from 76 a day earlier.

CNBC noted on Tuesday that China's "spike" of coronavirus cases, and the rapidly growing states of emergency declared in several provinces, coincide with the arrival of the World Health Organization's (W.H.O.) coronavirus investigation team. The city of Suihua, which borders the provincial capital Harbin, put its 5.2 million people under lockdown.

Jinzhong City in the province reported one confirmed case on Tuesday. "The county reported the 1st #COVID19 case on Jan 2 during this round of flare-ups in Hebei", tweeted Global Times.

As the province shares a long border with Hebei, it announced it had entered "wartime status" on Tuesday afternoon and would to strictly conduct checks for people coming from Hebei and other provinces.

"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.

Guan reported one new COVID-19 case but Sanhe did not say whether any of its residents were diagnosed with the disease.

Tieli, a city of about 300,000 people that borders Suihua, said on Wednesday it will not allow any people or vehicles to leave for three days as part of new COVID-19 prevention measurs.

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident at a community COVID-19 testing site in Xinhua District of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Jan. 12, 2021.

Controversially, authorities in China do not classify asymptomatic cases as confirmed COVID-19 infections. He had recently contacted 144 passengers, all of whom have been notified by authorities.



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