China asks residents in 2 cities to stay home to stamp out Covid-19 outbreak
300 people have tested positive in the past week.
Chinese authorities have asked residents in two cities south of Beijing to stay home for seven days as they try to stamp out a Covid-19 outbreak in which more than 300 people have tested positive in the past week.
The cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai in Hebei province are restricting people to their communities and villages and have banned gatherings, according to notices they posted on social media.
Hebei reported 14 more confirmed cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total in the ongoing outbreak to 137. It has found another 197 people without symptoms who tested positive. China does not include such asymptomatic cases in its confirmed count.
Beijing is requiring workers from Hebei to show proof of employment in Beijing and a negative COVID test before entering the nation’s capital. Chinese media reported hours-long backups at entry points on Friday.
In a separate outbreak, three more cases were reported in Liaoning province in the northeast, bringing the total there to 84 since the first cases surfaced about three weeks ago. Beijing has had 31 cases over the same period, though no new ones in the past 24 hours.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— COVID vaccine shots will be free in China, where more than 9 million doses have been given to date, health officials in Beijing said Saturday. “Ordinary people will not need to spend a penny,” Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official, said at a news conference. The announcement cleared up confusion from a news conference nine days ago at which Zheng said it would be affordable, and a more senior official, Vice Minister Zeng Yixin, jumped in to say it would be free. The costs will be covered by a national medical insurance fund and government funds. About 7.4 million shots have been given since a drive began Dec. 15 to inoculate medical and transport workers and other key groups ahead of Lunar New Year, a major holiday in mid-February. More than 1.6 million shots had been given in previous months. Zeng, the vice minister, said the specific timing for a visit by a WHO expert team on the origins of the virus is being determined and that it would be joined by Chinese experts in Wuhan, the city where cases of the new coronavirus were first detected in late 2019. WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed disappointment earlier this week that the Chinese side had not finalized the needed permissions for the visit. Two team members who were already en route had to turn back. Tedros said in Geneva on Friday that he expects the dates to be set next week.
British Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said current Covid-... READ MORE
Drug manufacturers working on improving vaccine to counter variants. READ MORE
Cancer is a bigger epidemic than Covid-19 globally if we analyse the... READ MORE
They will be able to offer home delivery services after this time. READ MORE
Attack by the Iran-backed militants on a border village also damaged... READ MORE
UAE school heads rubbish rumours about reduced syllabus for social... READ MORE
Here are the travel rules to some of the states that are mostly... READ MORE
UAE has one of the most effective Covid-19 test and trace programmes. READ MORE