Coronavirus Spreads in China’s Northern Hebei Province

TOPSHOT - A staff member (L) distributes papers to a student at an isolation examination room set for students at risk of infection by the COVID-19 coronavirus, during a simulation of the annual national college entrance exam, also known as Gao Kao, in Handan in China's central Hebei province on …
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Communities across China’s northern Hebei province have reported new coronavirus outbreaks in recent days, with one village raising its coronavirus emergency response level to “high-risk” on Tuesday.

“Hebei Province on Tuesday reported 14 new confirmed cases and 30 asymptomatic cases [of the Chinese coronavirus],” China’s state-run Global Times reported on January 5.

The “high-risk” Xiaoguozhuang Village, located near Hebei’s capital city of Shijiazhuang, “reported eight new locally transmitted cases on Tuesday. The first COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] case found in Hebei Province on Sunday was from the village,” according to the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece.

“Another village in Shijiazhuang was designated a medium-risk area on Monday, where three local cases were newly reported Tuesday,” the newspaper relayed, adding that “Shijiazhuang entered ‘wartime mode’ on Monday as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.”

China’s national capital, Beijing, is also located in Hebei province, about 165 miles northeast of Shijiazhuang. As news of Shijiazhuang’s coronavirus outbreak spread on Tuesday, authorities in Beijing announced new quarantine measures to limit the transmission of the virus within the national capital area. At least 28 new coronavirus cases have also been detected in Beijing in recent days, according to a separate report by the Global Times on January 5.

“Beijing’s Shunyi district, where Beijing Capital International Airport is located, will adopt the ’14+7′ quarantine measure for close contacts of confirmed cases, after the district reported 28 cases in the fresh outbreak, with some cases having an incubation period longer than 14 days,” Zhi Xianwei, a senior Shunyi government official said at a January 5 coronavirus press briefing.

Beijing’s new “14+7” quarantine measure requires travelers arriving in the city from overseas to undergo an observation period of 14 days, plus an additional seven days if people on their flights tested positive for coronavirus.

“[A]rrivals from overseas have to undergo a seven-day observation after completing 14-day concentrated quarantine if environment or people on their flights tested positive after the plane landed or during their quarantine [sic]. During the seven-day observations, they are not allowed to attend gatherings,” according to the Global Times.

Overseas travelers entering China through other Chinese cities who also wish to visit Beijing are allowed to enter the national capital 21 days after arriving in the country.

“If they plan to visit Beijing within 21 days, they have to report their personal information 72 hours prior to their arrival and undergo seven-day observation in Beijing,” according to the report.

The Chinese coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, the capital of China’s central Hubei province, in late 2019 before spreading worldwide into an ongoing global pandemic. Wuhan authorities in September said that domestic air travel in the city had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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