China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, as authorities warned it was soon to “relax” over the new cluster of cases.
After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province.
Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county — about 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Beijing — 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.
Now, 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.
Earlier the county had been subject to some travel restrictions, but now individuals are only allowed to leave their homes to seek medical treatment, the notice said.
The move comes after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June.
The outbreak was first detected in Beijing’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city’s fresh produce and sparked concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.
Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the market, state news agency Xinhua reported.