BEIJING (AFP) – China was dealing with the coronavirus outbreak across its frozen northeast on Tuesday, leading to further lockdowns and travel bans ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday next month.
The country reported another 118 cases on Tuesday, 43 of them in Jilin Province. Hebei Province outside Beijing witnessed 35 more cases, while Heilongjiang Province, which borders Russia, recorded 27 new cases.
Beijing, where some residential communities and remote villages have been placed under lockdown, has reported only one new case.
The fourth northern province of Liaoning also imposed quarantines and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, as part of measures imposed in most parts of the country to prevent an outbreak of the disease during the Lunar New Year holiday in February.
Authorities called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools to close a week ago and conducted tests on a large scale.
Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province, is building a complex of prefab housing units to allow more than 3,000 people to quarantine as it struggles to control more infections.
China has reported a total of 88,454 cases and 4,635 deaths since the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. China does not include people who have tested positive but have no symptoms in the census.
There is currently a multinational team of investigators from the World Health Organization in Wuhan who are under quarantine for two weeks before the start of field visits in the hope of obtaining clues about the origin of the epidemic that has killed more than two million people.
On other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– Officials announced Tuesday that travelers to New Zealand from most other countries will need to show negative coronavirus tests before departure, starting January 25. New Zealand recently imposed the rule on travelers from the United States and the United Kingdom and is expanding it to all other countries, except for Australia and a few Pacific island nations. Travelers returning from Antarctica are also exempt. COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hepkins said New Zealand has some of the most stringent border measures in the world, which it needs to maintain its virus eradication strategy. There is currently no community spread of the virus in New Zealand, with all known infections among travelers who have been quarantined at the border. Most travelers are required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival.