Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: China's Jilin city in partial lockdown over 2nd infection wave fears

Police officers in protective suits standing guard outside Jilin city's railway station in Jilin province yesterday. The north-eastern city in the province bordering Russia and North Korea has cut off transport links after the emergence of a local co
Police officers in protective suits standing guard outside Jilin city's railway station in Jilin province yesterday. The north-eastern city in the province bordering Russia and North Korea has cut off transport links after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • A north-eastern Chinese city has partially shut its borders, cut off transport links and closed schools after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fuelled fears about a second wave of infections in China.

Jilin city, with a population of more than four million, suspended bus services yesterday and said it will allow residents to leave the city only if they have tested negative for Covid-19 in the past 48 hours and completed an unspecified period of "strict self-isolation".

All cinemas, indoor gyms, Internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment venues must shut immediately, and pharmacies must report all sales of fever and antiviral medicines, the local government said in a statement.

Jilin is the second-largest city in Jilin province that borders Russia and North Korea.

A cluster of infections was reported in the suburb of Shulan in Jilin city over the weekend, with Jilin's vice-mayor warning yesterday that the situation was "extremely severe and complicated" and "there is major risk of further spread".

The city recorded six new cases yesterday, all linked to the Shulan cluster, bringing the total number of cases connected to a local laundry worker to 21. Shulan shut down public transport including trains leaving the county-level city on Sunday.

Jilin city also suspended train services from its main railway station yesterday morning, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The city announced yesterday that schools that had reopened in recent weeks would have to shut again, with students returning to online learning. Final-year high school students across the province returned to campuses on April 7 after months at home, while some younger pupils had been scheduled to resume classes this week, according to CCTV.

Meanwhile, Jiaohe, another area of Jilin city, put out an urgent call for all attendees of a wedding connected to one confirmed case to alert local authorities and isolate themselves at home immediately.

One patient, whose infection was confirmed on Monday, had driven two wedding photographers to Jiaohe, where a celebration was being held in a hotel, the local government said in a social media post on Tuesday.

The emergence of new cases in Wuhan in recent days, after weeks without fresh infections, has prompted a campaign to test all 11 million residents in the city where Covid-19 first emerged late last year.

In the capital Beijing, primary and middle school students will gradually return to campus next month, said the Beijing Municipal Education Commission yesterday.

Kindergartens can also start operations on June 8, but parents can decide whether to send their children to kindergarten or not.

China has nearly 83,000 Covid-19 cases, with a death toll of 4,633.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2020, with the headline 'China's Jilin city in partial lockdown over 2nd infection wave fears'. Subscribe