WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- China has reapplied lockdown protocols on a northeastern province after clusters of new coronavirus cases surfaced.
- The most recent 34 cases were reported in the province of Jilin, which borders North Korea and Russia.
- Strict controls on transport and public gatherings were renewed, and schools have had to re-close, Channel News Asia reported.
Chinese officials have placed around 108 million people on lockdown after a new cluster of coronavirus cases emerged, according to Channel News Asia.
Although small, the new 34 COVID-19 cases in Jilin province have prompted panicked government officials to clamp down — even as the rest of China is reopening after more than two months of lockdown following the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan, Bloomberg reported.
“Everyone is jittery,” Wang Yuemei, a factory worker in the Jilin city of Tonghua, told the outlet. “I never expected Jilin province to be a hard-hit area when the whole country is getting back to normal.”
The new lockdown is a shock to the region, which was forced into a nationwide shutdown in February and March despite relatively few cases — Jilin has had 127 confirmed cases compared to about 68,000 for Hubei, another Chinese province.
But local officials were taking no chances of a new outbreak.
Images from the main city of Shulan show empty streets and shops, with residents undergoing mandatory temperature screening in an attempt to avoid a new outbreak of the virus. School children were sent home as classes were shut down, while workers are seen converting a local sports arena, the Jilin Ice Sports Center, into a makeshift field hospital.
Government officials said residential compounds with suspected cases will be closed off, and only one member of each family will be allowed to leave to buy supplies — and only for two hours every other day.
The strict rules are an indication that Chinese officials, heavily criticized for their response to the initial outbreak in Wuhan, remain worried about a new outbreak.
China has reported more than 84,000 COVID-19 cases and over 4,600 deaths since the outbreak of the epidemic — though critics believe the figures are likely far higher.
Source: New York Post