Chinese city on Myanmar border locked down in new outbreak


Authorities have locked down a Chinese city bordering Myanmar, shutting most businesses and requiring residents to stay at home as a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 expanded

The lockdown shut down all businesses and public institutions except hospitals, pharmacies and essential shops like grocery stores, according to a notice posted online. It affects the urban part of Ruili, which like most Chinese cities includes surrounding rural areas in its jurisdiction.

Authorities had earlier banned unnecessary travel in and out of the city on Monday, after the first cases were reported.

The latest cases were discovered during mass testing. They included both Chinese and Myanmar nationals in the city, which has an active cross-border trade. Authorities said they would step up border controls.

Myanmar had reported 3,602 new cases in last 24 hours, state media said Wednesday.

Elsewhere in China, 52 people who had arrived on a flight from Afghanistan five days ago tested positive for the virus, the Hubei provincial health commission said. Thirty have been classified as confirmed cases, while the other 22 did not show any COVID-19 symptoms. China does not include asymptomatic cases in its official tally.

China has regularly imported cases from travelers, but usually in smaller numbers. The July 2 Xiamen Air flight flew from Kabul to Wuhan, the city hit hard by the virus after it was first detected there in late 2019. Virtually all people arriving in China must quarantine for two weeks in a designated hotel.

Ruili launched a campaign to vaccinate the entire city in April following an outbreak in March.

China has relied on a tough lockdown strategy and mass testing to tamp down outbreaks, even as it has stepped up the pace of vaccinations. Central health officials have said they want to vaccinate 80% of the population.



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