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China locks down 400,000 people after virus spike near Beijing

China has reinstated a strict lockdown near Beijing, affecting around 400,000 people, after a small surge in cases, the BBC reports.

The restrictions have come into force in Anxin county in Hebei province near the capital.

After the pandemic emerged in China at the end of last year, the country has managed to get new infections to a consistently low level.

To avoid a second wave, even small surges are taken very seriously by the country’s health authorities.

Officials announced on Sunday that Anxin would be “fully enclosed and controlled”.

Only essential workers are allowed to leave their homes, while one member of a household is allowed to go out once a day to shop for necessities.

No non-residents residents will be allowed to enter buildings, communities or villages. Authorities have warned anyone violating the rules will be punished by police.

Anxin is around 150km (90 miles) south of Beijing. Chinese media say there have been 18 cases in the county since the beginning of the recent surge in Beijing two weeks ago.

The area is not nearly as densely populated as China’s large urban centres, and local health experts said they were optimistic the spread could be stopped.

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