Tighter restrictions as north-east China gets new clusters, Latest World News - The New Paper

Tighter restrictions as north-east China gets new clusters

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BEIJING: New clusters of infections in north-eastern China near the Russian border forced officials yesterday to tighten restrictions on movement as they seek to prevent a second outbreak of the contagion.

China has largely curbed the spread of the deadly virus, but there are growing fears of a second wave of cases and Heilongjiang province has emerged as a new front in the battle.

The region has seen an influx of imported cases, mostly among Chinese citizens returning home, but domestic infections have also been mounting - prompting the sacking or punishment of several officials.

In the provincial capital Harbin, where two new clusters have been linked to local hospitals, people and vehicles from outside the city are banned from entering residential zones, officials said yesterday.

Anyone arriving from outside China or other virus hot-spots in the country will be forced to quarantine.

As of yesterday, there were 537 confirmed domestic cases in the province and another 384 imported cases, data from the National Health Commission showed.

China reported 30 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, 23 of them imported, involving travellers from overseas, up from 11 the previous day. Mainland China's tally of confirmed cases stands at 82,788, with deaths remaining unchanged at 4,632.

Another city fearing further infections is Jakarta.

The governor of Indonesia's capital said yesterday he would extend large-scale social restrictions for an additional month to May 22 and also ensure residents prayed at home during Ramadan to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

"This year's Ramadan will be different. Usually we pray in the mosque, but this year we will stay at home," Governor Anies Baswedan told a streamed news conference.

Indonesia reported 283 new infections yesterday, taking its total number of cases to 7,418.

There were 19 new deaths, taking the total to 635.

Malaysia reported 50 new cases yesterday, bringing its cumulative total to 5,532. There was one new death, bringing the total number of fatalities to 93. - AFP, REUTERS