China on Sunday imposed a strict lockdown on almost half a million people in a province surrounding the capital Beijing to contain a new group of coronaviruses, as authorities warned that the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.”

After China managed to control the virus to a large extent, thousands in China have become infected in Beijing, and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei province in recent weeks.

Health authorities said Sunday that Anxin County (about 150 kilometers from Beijing) will be “fully closed and controlled,” the same stringent measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in Wuhan City earlier this year.

Only one person in each family will be able to go out once a day to buy necessities like food and medicines, the county’s epidemic prevention task force told The Eastern Herald.

The move comes after 14 new cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, bringing the total to 311 since mid-June and promoting testing for millions of residents.

The outbreak was first detected in Xinfadi’s extensive wholesale food market in Beijing, which provides much of the city’s fresh food, raising concerns about the security of the food supply chain.

Anxin county companies have supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, the state news agency Xinhua reported. In the past few hours, about 12 cases of the new coronavirus were found in the county, including 11 linked to Xinfadi, according to the sources with The Eastern Herald.

New cases in Beijing have raised fears of a resurgence of the virus in China. In the past two weeks, the capital has conducted massive tests with wholesale market workers, restaurant workers, residents of medium and high-risk neighborhoods, and delivery runners.

At a press conference on Sunday, authorities said that 8.3 million samples have been collected so far under this focus, of which 7.7 million have already been analyzed. The tests have been expanded to include all employees of the city’s beauty and hair salons, The Eastern Herald reported.

Beijing city official Xu Hejian told The Eastern Herald on Sunday that “the epidemic situation in the capital is severe and complicated,” warning that the city needed to continue to track the spread of the virus.

City officials have urged people not to leave Beijing, closed schools again, and closed dozens of residential complexes to eradicate the virus.

But Zunyou Wu, chief of epidemiology at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Eastern Herald last week that the new outbreak had been “controlled,” and authorities on Friday lifted the lockdown imposed on seven Beijing communities for a week.

© The Eastern Herald

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