In stark contrast to the relaxation of restrictions between peaks in infection rates in the United States and parts of Europe, around 400,000 people have been placed under tight control in Anxin County in central Hebei province near Beijing. after only 18 new cases detected.
Officials announced in a statement Sunday that “all villages, communities and buildings will be completely closed” in Anxin. Families are allowed to send one person per family outside to purchase supplies once a day and all outside vehicles are prohibited.
The authorities quickly imposed a blockade on 11 residential complexes near the market, prohibiting anyone from entering or leaving. The residents were checked and reported daily on the temperature and delivered food and basic necessities.
Beijing also launched mass nucleic acid tests for coronavirus, setting up 1
93 sampling booths across the city. More than 76,000 people have been tested within 48 hours of detecting the cluster.
Speaking with CNN in May, China’s greatest breathing expert, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, warned that China still faces the “big challenge” of a potential return of the virus and that the authorities should not be complacent.
“Most … Chinese people are currently still susceptible to Covid-19 infection, due to a lack of immunity,” said Zhong. “We are facing (a) a great challenge, it is no better than the foreign countries that I think at the moment.”
Efforts to contain the epidemic in Beijing seem to have been successful so far – demonstrating once again the effectiveness of the blockades, the social distancing and wear of masks combined with widespread tests. On Sunday, only eight new cases were detected in the city, down from dozens just a week ago.
Nearly 8 million Beijing residents have been tested for coronavirus, local authorities said on Sunday, with the number of tests daily rising from 40,000 to over 450,000.
CNN’s Nectar Gan contributed to the report.