China puts 500,000 in Wuhan-style lockdown after spike in coronavirus cases

China has once again implemented tough restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19 after cases suddenly rose.

The nation, where the virus originated, had largely brought the pandemic under control but hundreds have now been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighbouring Hebei province in recent weeks.

Health officials said Sunday Anxin county – about 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.

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.

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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 and spurring the testing of millions of residents.

The outbreak was first detected in 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.

At a press conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.

The worldwide death toll from Covid-19 surpassed half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, a grim milestone for the global pandemic that seems to be resurgent in some countries even as other regions are still grappling with the first wave.

While the overall rate of death has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia.

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