Asia Today: China provinces enforce measures as cases spike

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BEIJING (AP) – China’s Hebei is enforcing stricter control measures following a further rise in coronavirus cases in the province adjacent to the capital Beijing that’s due to host events for next year’s Winter Olympics.

The National Health Commission on Wednesday reported another 20 cases in Hebei, bringing the province’s total to 39 since Sunday.

The top provincial official on Tuesday said residents of areas classified as medium or high risk, primarily neighborhoods in the cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, were being tested and barred from going out. Those in neighborhoods ranked as medium risk could only leave after showing a negative test for the virus. Classes are shifting online and school dormitories are in lockdown.

Also Wednesday, single cases were also reported in Beijing and the provinces of Lioaning and Heilongjiang, where mass testing and limited lockdowns have also been enforced.

Liaoning’s provincial capital Shenyang has ordered people in16 districts to stay home and anyone seeking to leave the city must present a negative test obtained within 72 hours of departure, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Wary of another wave of infections, China is urging migrant workers to stay put during the Lunar New Year holidays next month.

School classes are being dismissed early and tourists have been told not to come to Beijing.

China has reported a total of 87,215 cases with 4,634 deaths. Hospitals are currently treating 443 people for the disease while another 363 people are being observed in isolation for being suspected cases or for testing positive without showing symptoms.

China’s economy has largely bounced back from the pandemic and the country is the only major nation expected to record growth for 2020. However, the country’s tourist and service industries continue to feel the effects, with attendance at the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Heilongjiang province down considerably from previous years.

A number of mass gatherings and traditional events including a New Year’s countdown, ice swimming, ice weddings and more have been canceled.

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Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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