China is locking down a city of 11 million people to contain flare-up of a coronavirus. In its northern province of Hebei, China has shut down a region of 11 million residents in order to tackle the country’s worst coronavirus flare-up in months.
As major highways were blocked, train and bus stations closed and flights cancelled, residents of Shijiazhuang, a provincial capital close to Beijing, were prohibited from leaving the city.
The lockdown comes as a total of 117 Covid-19 infections were detected on Wednesday in Shijiazhuang, including 67 asymptomatic cases.
According to the Hebei provincial health board, Shijiazhuang reported another 66 positive cases on Thursday.
Municipal officials declared a ban on outbound travel for all people and vehicles from Shijiazhuang, except for emergencies, at a press conference Thursday night.
Gatherings are outlawed inside the town, all schools have been suspended, and residential neighbourhoods and villages are also closed off.
After a previous lockout during the initial epidemic in the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first identified in December 2019, the controls are some of the strictest imposed in China.
The Shijiazhuang epidemic comes just weeks before the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s most important annual festival that sees millions of people fly home to reunite with their families.