China's Health Commission (NHC) on Saturday reported 33 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of which 17 were locally transmitted and the rest arrived from outside to the mainland. A total of 14 cases reported from north China's Hebei province. Hebei province has been experiencing a surge in cases since some time now. The authorities have imposed strict measures on two cities in Hebei province. People were stopped from leaving the cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai and transportation has been stopped.
After this, alert levels in Beijing have gone up due to its close proximity with the Hebei province. Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan rushed to the province on an inspection tour on the instructions of President Xi Jinping. Also, several local health officials have been suspended.
As a result of the surge in cases, Shijiazhuang has suspended all subway services. Also, all cities require all local residents to undertake 7-day home quarantine after citywide nucleic acid tests. In a bid to curb the growing wave, China has also stepped up vaccination. Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the NHC said that over 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been inoculated in China. The deputy director of the Beijing centre for disease control and prevention, Pang Xinghuo, during a news briefing said that groups like pregnant women, lactating women and patients with some diseases are not suitable for vaccines. He added that these patients in the acute stage of fever and infection, suffering from immune deficiency or immune disorder, having severe liver or kidney diseases, having uncontrolled hypertension, diabetic complications or malignant tumours are not suitable for vaccines at this stage.
Other cases were reported from the city of Yantai. According to AP, China also recorded two cases of domestic transmission in the northeastern province of Liaoning and one case in Beijing. Authorities have urged the citizens to not make “unnecessary” trips to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year holiday amid a rise in the coronavirus cases. Various local governments have also issued a notice asking people to stay home and not indulge in travel. “In a bid to prevent transmission and control the pandemic, we encourage companies and enterprises to make flexible arrangements for the holiday and guide employees to spend the vacation in the area where they work”, read a notice issued by the State council.