China puts half a million in lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

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China has imposed a strict lockdown on some 500,000 people in Anxin county, near Beijing to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese health officials said the county will be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.

Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county’s epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.

The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total number of cases in the city of over 20 million to 311.

After China appeared to have largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.

The current outbreak was first detected in mid-June and has been traced back to Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city’s fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.

Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month, city officials said Sunday.

Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Some 12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the state-run Global Times reported.

The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.