China’s capital Beijing will screen all those who have entered the city since December 10, 2020 to find the origin of the recent outbreak in the city, city authorities decided in a late evening meeting on 19th January in view of a sudden local cluster of COVID cases in Daxing district.

Beijing has reported seven new local COVID-19 cases, six of which are from Daxing district where the city’s international airport is situated.

Daxing has strengthened prevention measures, including shutting down metro stations, schools and nursing homes in the affected areas, banning residents from leaving Beijing, and the launch of sweeping district-wide nucleic acid testing.

Local authorities said, at least five residential communities in Daxing have entered lockdown, starting from Wednesday. Beijing has already increased the quarantine period to 28 days for incoming persons.

The measures come amid the country’s most severe COVID-19 outbreak since March 2020 ahead of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday season, when hundreds of millions are expected to travel, raising fears of another major COVID-19 wave that could bring the country back into a debilitating standstill.

The National Health Commission said on Wednesday that a total of 161 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 19, including 58 asymptomatic.

Northeastern Jilin province reported 46 new cases, Hebei province surrounding Beijing 19 new cases, 16 in Heilongjiang province, while 7 cases were reported in Beijing municipality.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,635. 

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