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Virus cases rise in northeast Chinese city

A northeastern city of 10 million people grappling with what is now China’s biggest coronavirus outbreak has further restricted inbound traffic to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.

Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, has banned entry to residential zones by non-locals and vehicles registered elsewhere, state media said.

It had already ordered isolation for arrivals from outside China or key epidemic areas.

Heilongjiang has been on the frontline of China’s latest efforts to identify infected citizens arriving from Russia, with which it shares a border, so as to halt the virus.

“All confirmed cases, suspected cases, close contacts of asymptomatic people, and close contacts of close contacts should be quarantined and tested,” state media cited the city government as saying.

Harbin said this month it was ordering 28 days of quarantine for all arrivals from abroad, with two nucleic acid tests and an antibody test for each.

It also set 14-day lockdowns for residences where confirmed and asymptomatic cases are found.

Harbin, which has air links with Russia, reported seven new confirmed cases on Tuesday, taking its local infections to 52.

Additionally, three infected travellers arrived from Russia. About 1,400 people are being observed for signs of the virus.

Heilongjiang reported a total of 537 local confirmed cases by Tuesday, including 470 discharged from hospital. Besides Harbin, the city of Mudanjiang had two current confirmed cases.

Mainland 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 4,632 deaths.

Originally published as Virus cases rise in northeast Chinese city

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