A second wave of the Covid-19 virus which has claimed 297,000 deaths worldwide, has materialised in China’s northeast, home to over 100 million people.
Towns and cities in Jilin province have closed off trains and buses, shut schools and quarantined tens of thousands of people.
The second dose of strict measures comes as citizens had thought the worst of the nation’s epidemic was over.
People “are feeling more cautious again,” said Fan Pai, who works at a trading company in Shenyang, a city in nearby Liaoning province that’s also facing renewed restrictions. “Children playing outside are wearing masks again” and health care workers are walking around in protective gear, she said. “It’s frustrating because you don’t know when it will end.”
At least five new corona cases were reported at the weekend.
The Jilin province, which lies just beyond the North Korean border and is a day’s drive from the Hubei Province where the virus emerged.
The Jilin province has just 127 total confirmed cases and two deaths since the virus emerged late last year.
Hubei province has 68,134 cases reported.
Last week, Wuhan reported six new cases, breaking a 35-day streak of zero new daily cases. The government in the city has not reimposed a lockdown but is currently testing all 11 million residents.
China’s swift and powerful reaction reflects its fear of a second wave after it curbed the virus’s spread at great economic and social cost. It’s also a sign of how fragile the re-opening process will be in China and elsewhere as even the slightest hint of a resurgence of infections could prompt a return to strict lockdown.
The government of Shulan, a city in Jilin, said to news reporters it would put in place its strictest measures yet to contain the virus.
Residential areas with confirmed or suspected cases will be quarantined, with only one person from each family allowed to leave to purchase essentials for two hours every two days.