Many regions across the country have started taking strengthened epidemic prevention and control measures, after three provinces reported confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases related to patients with the infectious disease in Beijing.
Baoding, a city in Hebei province about 140 kilometers southwest of Beijing, required communities and villages to carry out strict access control measures. The local government announced the city was in “wartime emergency mode” on Saturday.
Public spaces in the city, such as shopping malls and office buildings, are required to limit the number of people in order to prevent mass gatherings.
The province confirmed three COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic case on Sunday, while Liaoning province confirmed two on Saturday.
All six have had close contacts with locally transmitted cases confirmed in Beijing, according to local health authorities.
Sichuan province reported a suspected case on Sunday, whose husband is a COVID-19 patient confirmed in Beijing on Saturday. She returned to Yaan’s Shimian county from the capital on June 9, the provincial health commission reported.
The four cases reported in Hebei are from a family in Anxin county, which belongs to Xiongan New Area.
The family had a store at Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market, which had been closed because local cases in Beijing in recent days had visited or are related to the market.
Seven cities in Hebei have released emergency notices warning people who had been to Beijing, especially the markets that were found to be related to confirmed cases, to take measures to avert possible virus transmission.
Tangshan required that people who had been to Xinfadi market and Jingshen seafood market since May 30 report their health condition to their local government and receive nucleic acid testing.
In Bayannuur, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, all passengers that returned from medium or high-risk regions in Beijing such as Xicheng, Fengtai and Fangshan districts since Saturday morning, will be under a 14-day quarantine and receive nucleic acid testing and antibody detection.
The Letai office building in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei, sent out a notice on Monday to require all visitors, including people working there and others, to wear face masks and show their health QR code on entry.
“We need to be careful and take the measures thoroughly because Beijing is too close to us and there’s a high mobility of people,” said Wang Jing, a property supervisor at the building.
She added that the prevention measures were eased since Hebei lowered its public health emergency response from the highest level to the second-highest level at the end of April. “But the wearing of face masks and temperature checks haven’t been stopped.”
Many schools in Hebei have canceled the resumption of classes for primary students from grade one to grade three, which was scheduled on Monday.
Li Chao, the father of a grade three student at Zilong Primary School in Zhengding county, Shijiazhuang, said he received a notice on Sunday night and the school didn’t give a specific date for students to return to school. His daughter has stayed at home since the winter vacation started in January.
Zhang Wenhong, director of the infectious disease department of Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said in a social media post on Sunday that medical institutions across the country, especially fever clinics and respiratory infection clinics, should always stay alert to cope with COVID-19 cases, while the public are supposed to maintain good habits to prevent the spread of the disease.
“As long as there is timely discovery, fast response and accurate control, sporadic outbreaks of the epidemic can be brought under control,” he said.