Beijing-China’s health department used only 39 new coronavirus cases, and nearly 11 million people have been locked in Shijiazhuang City.
Health officials took no action on Wednesday, sealing the industrial capital of Hebei Province and ordering large-scale testing.
Travel restrictions are imposed on the rest of the area. The area surrounds China’s capital Beijing and is home to approximately 76 million people.
By Saturday, Mayor Ma Yujun said at a press conference that it took only three days to complete the first round of large-scale testing in Shijiazhuang and found that 354 people had tested positive for the virus. He added that the second round of testing is about to begin.
Yan Xixin, director of the intensive care unit of the Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University, said at the same press conference: “There is still more risk of infection.”
Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region (including Japan, Thailand, and Australia) have adopted this rigorous approach to combat the coronavirus outbreak, which makes measures to contain the spread of the virus in Europe and the United States seem slow.
The authorities put Hebei, known for its textile, steel and pharmaceutical industries, into a “wartime mode” on Tuesday. This means that government-coordinated actions can be initiated, investigation teams can be established to track contact information, and medical supplies can be distributed.
For residents of Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital, travel outside the city and gatherings are prohibited. Schools are closed, flights and trains are cancelled, and the main bus terminal is closed.
Later Friday, citizens were urged to stay at home for at least seven days.
Nearby, officials in Nangong City announced on the social platform WeChat that they would offer a reward of 500 yuan ($77) to reward reports of rejection of the Covid-19 test.
“People should fully understand the necessity of this method,” Shi Mo, a graduate student in Shijiazhuang, told NBC News.
Although this requires some social and psychological adjustments, Shi Zhigang likened the blockade to “preparing for a protracted war.”
He said: “With Wuhan’s valuable experience in previous epidemic prevention work, Shijiazhuang has a model for reference.” “We are all optimistic about the epidemic.”
Although the virus has not yet reached stringent control measures, its control measures are similar to those of the Chinese authorities, although the virus was used by the Chinese authorities to eliminate the virus when it first appeared in Wuhan at the end of 2019.
According to the National Health Commission of China, the total number of coronavirus cases in China has exceeded 87,000 since then, and the death toll has remained unchanged since May at 4,634.
NBC News was unable to independently verify the reported figures, and the Chinese government has been criticized for its lack of publicity since the beginning and minimized the severity of the epidemic. The country was also accused of mishandling the initial stages of the epidemic and silenced whistleblowers.
However, Hebei is implementing a vaccination plan, and the National Health Commission stated that once the vaccine is available to the public, it will be provided free of charge.
Sun Xinyi, a teacher in Shijiazhuang, said that the sudden blockade of the city initially caused people to “panic”, but the rapid release of government information reassures many people.
Sun said it was dissatisfied with the inability to order food deliveries that had been suspended, but he said: “Strict and rapid citywide testing is actually a good thing.”
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Other countries are also taking similar tough measures.
In Brisbane, Australia, with a population of 2 million, the city entered a three-day lockdown on Friday night after a more contagious mutation of the British coronavirus was discovered.
Queensland Governor Annastaciacia Palaszczuk said at a press conference on Friday: “We will work hard and take all measures as soon as possible to stop the spread of this virus.”
Japan also announced on Thursday a one-month limited state of emergency in the capital Tokyo and three neighboring counties to stop the spread of the virus.
As Prime Minister Soshi Yoshihide Suga admitted that the measures may need to be extended to other parts of the country, local residents have been asked to stay at home after 8pm.
According to data from the Japanese Ministry of Health, although Japan has not been hit by the pandemic like many other countries, it has taken severe containment measures. The death toll in Japan is approximately 3,900.
Thailand also declared 28 provinces, including Bangkok, high-risk areas and asked people to work from home to avoid gatherings, as the authorities confirmed that there were daily records of 745 new infections on Monday.
According to data from its disease control department, the country has only reported 67 deaths, the lowest in Asia.
Dawn Liu is from Beijing and Adela Suliman from London is from.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Ed Flanagan, Eric Baculinao and Will Xu Contributed.