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A city in the north China is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to cope with an anticipated overflow of patients COVID-19 cases spike ahead of the annual Lunar New Year travel rush.

State media on Friday showed crews leveling the ground, pouring concrete and assembling pre-cast rooms on farmland in a peripheral part of Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei province, which has seen most of the new cases.

A medical worker in a general protector escorts a wheelchair patient from the fever screening department of Tongji Hospital, which was on the front lines of China's fight against coronavirus in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, on Friday, January 15, 2021.
A medical worker in a general protector escorts a wheelchair patient from the fever screening department of Tongji Hospital, which was on the front lines of China’s fight against coronavirus in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, on Friday, January 15, 2021. (AP)

Two of the 15 members were arrested in Singapore for their health. One, a British national, was approved to travel on Friday after testing negative for the coronavirus, while the second, a Sudanese national of Qatar, again tested positive, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

China has largely contained the internal spread of the virus, but the recent increase has raised concerns due to the proximity to the capital, Beijing, and the impending flood of people planning to travel great distances to reunite with their families for the Lunar New Year. , the country’s most important traditional festival.

The National Health Commission said on Friday that 1,001 patients were under care for the disease, 26 in serious condition. He said 144 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours. Hebei accounted for 90 of the new cases, while Heilongjiang province further north reported 43.

China
Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a field hospital on January 24, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Builders completed the 1,000-bed hospital in early February to cope with the surge in patients in the city. (Getty)
The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital under construction is considered nearing completion in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province.
The Huoshenshan temporary field hospital under construction is considered nearing completion in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province. (Chinatopix via AP)

Local transmissions also occurred in the southern Guangxi region and northern Shaanxi province, illustrating the virus’s ability to move through the vast country of 1.4 billion people despite quarantines, travel restrictions, and electronic monitoring.

To date, China has reported 87,988 confirmed cases with 4,635 deaths.

Shijiazhuang has been virtually blocked, along with the cities of Xingtai and Langfang in Hebei, parts of Beijing and other cities in the northeast. That has cut off travel routes, while more than 20 million people have been told to stay home for the next few days.

China is moving ahead with inoculations with vaccines developed in China, with more than 9 million people already vaccinated and plans for 50 million to receive vaccines by the middle of next month.

About 4,000 doses are delivered daily at the Chaoyang Planning Art Museum, one of more than 240 sites in Beijing, where the first of two doses was administered on Friday to high-risk groups, including medical workers, from delivery and transportation.

A staff member in a protective suit buys essential items at a supermarket for residents observing home quarantine on January 11, 2021 in Xinle, Hebei Province in China. (VCG via Getty Images)

The vaccine, produced by a Beijing subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm, is the first approved for general use in China.

“Being vaccinated is not only to protect myself, but also to protect the people around me,” Ding Jianguang, a social worker who received her first injection earlier this month, told foreign journalists on a visit organized by the government to the site.

Former World Health Organization official Keiji Fukuda, who is not part of the team in Wuhan, cautioned against expectations of any progress on the visit, saying it may take years before firm conclusions can be drawn about the origin of the virus.

“China is going to want to get out by avoiding blame, perhaps changing the narrative. They want to appear competent and transparent,” he told The Associated Press in a video interview from Hong Kong.

A medical worker applies a coronavirus vaccine to a patient at a vaccination center in Beijing, Friday, January 15, 2021.
A medical worker applies a coronavirus vaccine to a patient at a vaccination center in Beijing, Friday, January 15, 2021. (AP)
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For its part, WHO wants to project the image that it is “taking, exercising leadership, taking and doing things in a timely manner,” he said.

Scientists suspect that the virus that has killed more than 1.9 million people worldwide since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, possibly in southwest China.

China approved the World Health Organization visit only after months of diplomatic disputes that prompted an unusual public complaint from the WHO chief.

The delay, along with tight control of information by the ruling Communist Party and the promotion of theories that the pandemic started elsewhere, added to speculation that China is seeking to avoid discoveries affecting its self-proclaimed status as leader in the battle against the virus. .

Wuhan has not recorded COVID-19 cases from community broadcasts since May 2020, residents’ lives are gradually returning to normal. (Getty)

In Wuhan, life on the street seemed little different than in other Chinese cities where the virus has been largely controlled.

Elders gathered to drink and dance in a riverside park on Friday, with residents generally praising the government’s response to the crisis.

In other countries, “people arbitrarily go out, hang out and hang out, so it is especially easy for them to get infected,” Xiang Nan said.

“I hope they can stay home and reduce travel … Don’t let the pandemic spread any further.”


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