A city in China’s northeastern Jilin province, bordering North Korea, declared “wartime control mode” over coronavirus, locking down communities over the weekend after twelve Chinese coronavirus cases were recorded within three days, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper Global Times reported on Sunday.
Jilin province health authorities declared the city, Shulan, to be at “high risk” for coronavirus, making it the only city or region in China with this highest-level designation as of Monday.
The lockdown follows news on Friday that a 45-year-old female laundry worker, employed by the city police laundry in Shulan, tested positive for coronavirus, according to a press release by the Health Commission of Jilin Province (HCJP). On Sunday, the HCJP confirmed that eleven more people in Shulan tested positive for coronavirus, all of whom had come into close contact with the laundress.
“Shulan should declare wartime control mode in line with the requirements of highest-risk level prevention and control,” Bayin Chaolu, the CCP Committee Secretary for Jilin Province, said at a coronavirus-response meeting on Sunday, according to the report.
“The clustered infections in Shulan pose great danger to the lives of the public and the situation is heart-breaking, exposing the shortfalls and loopholes in anti-epidemic work. Those who failed to take action over the epidemic will be held responsible,” Bayin warned.
Shulan, a city of 630,000 people, enforced a lockdown of its local communities and villages on Saturday, according to the report. Security personnel will guard all of the city’s official “exits and entrances,” allowing only one “door” or gateway to be used by local residents for essential movement. Families have been asked to stay home, and the government will allow just one family member to leave the house once a day to purchase “necessities” such as food or medicine.
All of the city’s public transportation, including buses, shut down on Sunday. No taxis are allowed to leave Shulan. Railway services into and out of the city have been halted until May 31, according to the report.
The HCJP announced three new infections on Monday, increasing the total number of coronavirus cases in Jilin Province to 15, CCP newspaper China Daily reported. According to the HCJP, the new cases were recorded in Jilin City, but all three were linked to the new Shulan cluster.
Sixth Tone, a state-owned news site based in Shanghai, reported on Monday that Shulan’s mayor has ordered all “high-risk” people to be isolated.
“The local government has taken strict pandemic control measures, including placing all high-risk people under quarantine and giving them coronavirus tests,” said Jin Hua, mayor of Shulan. “All residential communities and villages have been locked down.”
In April, Heilongjiang province, which borders Jilin, saw some of its cities impose extreme lockdowns on people’s movement after dozens of new coronavirus cases emerged. In the capital, Harbin, CCP authorities forced residents suspected of having coronavirus into mandatory quarantine, locking them inside of their homes, according to local reports. At the time, a Harbin local filmed and shared a video of an apartment building that appeared to be sealed shut from the outside by authorities.
On Monday, Wuhan, the city where the Chinese coronavirus first emerged in late 2019, reported five new coronavirus cases, according to a press release by the Health Commission of Hubei Province. The new cases are the first to be documented in Wuhan by authorities since April 3, the South China Morning Post reported. The news follows weeks of government authorities claiming that Wuhan and other parts of Hubei province have been “free” of coronavirus and ready to re-open after months in lockdown.