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Northern Chinese cities on lockdown as hundreds of COVID-19 cases reported

Northern Chinese cities on lockdown as hundreds of COVID-19 cases reported
More Chinese cities are on lockdown after authorities reported hundreds of new COVID-19 cases since Jan. 2. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- China is reporting a record number of COVID-19 cases in its northern region, prompting authorities to place cities on lockdown.

China's National Health Commission said Wednesday the country recorded 90 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday in Hebei Province, adjacent to Beijing, the same day authorities confirmed 16 cases in Heilongjiang Province, bordering Russia and one new case in Shanxi Province.

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The total number of officially confirmed cases found Tuesday stands at 107, according to the commission.

The relatively high number of cases in Chinese territory marks the biggest daily spike in COVID-19 since July 29, when an outbreak in Xinjiang exceeded 100, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

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In early January, Chinese authorities identified several new COVID-19 cases in the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei and in Xingtai. On Wednesday, figures for Tuesday showed Shijiazhuang reported 84 cases and Xingtai reported 6.

According to NPR on Wednesday, Hebei has reported more than 600 new cases, and 544 of the cases were found in Shijiazhuang since Jan. 2.

This week, the two Chinese cities and Langfang, also in Hebei, were placed on lockdown. The restrictive measure bans city residents from leaving their homes or residential buildings at all times, according to NPR.

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Suihua, a city in Heilongjiang with a population of about 5 million, also is on lockdown, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

Chinese health professionals who participated in an epidemiological investigation in Shijiazhuang told state tabloid Global Times the latest outbreak likely began between November and Dec. 15.

China previously said it had won its battle against COVID-19 and continues to promote its domestic vaccine from state-owned supplier Sinopharm. Beijing did not observe the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 death in Wuhan on Monday.

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In the wake of the latest outbreak, Beijing could be stepping up vaccinations. The Health Commission said this week the domestic vaccine will be made available to more people, including citizens age 60 or older.

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