China has reinstated a strict blockade near Beijing, affecting some 400,000 people, after a small increase in cases.
The restrictions took effect in the country of Anxin, in the province of Hebei, near the capital.
After the pandemic broke out in China at the end of last year, the country managed to bring new infections to a consistently low level.
To prevent a second wave, even small outbreaks are taken very seriously by the country’s health authorities.
What’s going on in Hebei?
The authorities announced on Sunday that Anxin would be “fully closed and controlled”.
The restrictions are similar to those imposed at the height of the pandemic in Wuhan, where the outbreak emerged earlier this year.
This means that only essential workers can leave their homes, while a family member can go out once a day to shop.
Anxin is about 150 km south of Beijing. Chinese media say there have been 18 cases in Anxin since the recent Beijing outbreak began two weeks ago.
What is the situation in Beijing?
China’s recent figures remain the envy of most other countries affected by the virus. However, a recent increase in Beijing has officials fearing a possible second wave.
In the past 24 hours, Beijing registered 14 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 311 since a mid-June outbreak in the food market.
Although that number is small, compared to the thousands of daily cases in the US or South America, China reacted quickly to contain any spread.
Several neighborhoods in Beijing were restricted, travel was limited and a huge wave of new tests was launched.
Before the recent increase, the Chinese capital had gone 57 days without a case transmitted locally.
How is the rest of China dealing with the virus?
In general, China has successfully “flattened the curve” in recent months.
After 80,000 confirmed cases passed in early March, only about 4,700 have been added since then.
Since mid-June, new infections have been limited mainly to Beijing, with some spillage over neighboring Hebei.
The rest of China saw only a small number of single-digit infections, most of which were imported, meaning that travelers return from abroad.