Global report: China locks down border city in response to two Covid cases

Checkpoints prevent anyone entering or leaving city of Ruili; WHO warns against swift reopening in Latin America; New Zealand in recession

China has locked down a city on its border with Myanmar and launched a campaign to test the city’s entire population of more than 200,000 people.

Officials in Ruili in Yunnan province said the city had entered a state of “wartime” defences against Covid-19 after two new cases emerged among travellers from Myanmar. Residents have been ordered to stay at home and authorities have set up checkpoints to prevent anyone entering or leaving Ruili and restricting access to border areas nearby. Most businesses have been closed.

On Thursday, more than 360 testing sites were set up and almost 1,200 people deployed to conduct testing around the clock. Ruan Chengfa, deputy secretary of Yunnan’s party committee, said in a meeting on Wednesday that local authorities were implementing a strict policy of “complete inspection, strict quarantine. No entry and no exit.” As of Tuesday evening, 60,000 people had been tested.

Officials have also said they would crack down on illegal migration and would deport any residents who could not verify a fixed residence or place of work.

China – which has largely contained the virus with more than 85,000 cases and an official death toll that remains at 4,634 – continues to battle imported cases. On Thursday, the country reported nine new cases as of Wednesday, all of them from travellers coming from overseas.

Chinese health officials have said they believe a vaccine will be available as soon as November or December. Thousands of Chinese health workers and staff of state-owned companies have already received experimental vaccines.

Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech will begin clinical trials of its experimental vaccine on teenagers and children later this month, according to a registration record published on Wednesday.

The outbreak in Ruili comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Latin American countries not to reopen too fast. WHO regional director Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday that Latin America had started to resume normal social and public life at a time when the pandemic still required major control interventions.

Cases on Colombia’s border with Venezuela have increased ten-fold in the past two weeks, Etienne said in a virtual briefing from Washington with other Pan American Health Organization directors.

Death rates are climbing in parts of Mexico, and similar trends are being seen in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Bolivia, and parts of Argentina, she warned.

Etienne said governments must monitor travel very carefully because reopening to tourism can lead to setbacks. That has happened in the Caribbean, where several countries that had virtually no cases experienced spikes as tourism resumed.

Latin America has recorded around 8.4 million coronavirus cases, and more than 315,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both figures are the highest of any region.

India reported another global record jump in daily coronavirus infections with 97,894 cases in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Thursday. Total coronavirus infections in India surged past 5 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.

In the big states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, some of the areas worst affected by the virus, demand for oxygen has more than tripled, doctors and government officials said, prompting urgent calls for help.

There are 29.8 million coronavirus cases worldwide and 939,427 people have died over the course of the pandemic so far.

New Zealand, one of the first countries to virtually eliminate community transmission following one of the strictest lockdowns worldwide, saw its gross domestic product (GDP) fall by 12.2% in the June quarter, the largest quarterly fall since such records began in 1987, as Covid restrictions affected economic activity, Stats NZ said today.

Meanwhile in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, has told a Senate panel that he thinks it will take one year before a coronavirus vaccine will be “generally available to the American public”.

That estimation contrasts with recent bullish messaging by Donald Trump, who on Tuesday repeated his assertion that “we’re going to have a vaccine in a matter of weeks” even though a successful vaccine has yet to be unveiled from ongoing US trials. The president later said Redfield must have been “confused”.

  • The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 2,194 to 265,857 on Thursday, the second-highest daily total since April.

  • In the US, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is to furlough himself and his staff for a week in order to close a $7bn budget shortfall created by the pandemic.

  • The average age of people infected with Covid-19 is coming down, according to a World Health Organization expert Dr Maria Van Kerkhove. She told a Q&A that incidences of hospitalisation among those aged 15 to 49 years are increasing and said it was possible for the same person to be infected with influenza and Covid-19.

  • South Africa will reopen its borders to most countries next month, the president said on Wednesday, part of a wider easing of measures announced as figures continue to improve.


Lily Kuo in Beijing and Helen Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Global report: Wuhan reports no asymptomatic cases for first time
Chinese city marks recovery milestone; English health officials voice concern over loosened lockdown; Brazil pass 500,000 cases

Helen Davidson

01, Jun, 2020 @5:06 AM

Article image
China locks down 13 million people in Xi’an after detecting 127 Covid cases
Snap lockdown, which prompted panic in the city, comes little over a month before Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympics

Rhoda Kwan in Taipei

23, Dec, 2021 @5:03 AM

Article image
Covid global report: Omicron alert in southern Chinese city bordering Macau
Variant detected in southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, say officials, while CDC in the US urges use of the ‘most protective’ masks

Staff and agencies

15, Jan, 2022 @6:15 AM

Article image
Global report: Asia-Pacific countries toughen Covid curbs as cases grow
Thailand extends state of emergency as Indonesia seeks halal approval ahead of mass vaccinations

Helen Sullivan , Helen Davidson and agencies

08, Jan, 2021 @4:09 AM

Article image
Coronavirus global report: 'response fatigue' fears as Mexico hits 9,000 daily cases
Many countries that believed they were past the worst are grappling with new outbreaks, says WHO

Oliver Holmes

02, Aug, 2020 @1:31 PM

Article image
Global report: China records no new Covid-19 cases for first time as Hertz files for bankruptcy
No confirmed new cases for China; major car rental firm files for US bankruptcy; fears thousands will breach Eid travel ban in Indonesia

Guardian staff

23, May, 2020 @5:11 AM

Article image
China locks down part of Wuhan, nearly three years after first Covid case emerged
More than 800,000 people locked down in site of world’s first Covid outbreak in 2019, as other Chinese cities seal up streets and homes

Guardian staff with agencies

27, Oct, 2022 @5:07 AM

Article image
Global Covid report: India passes 8m cases as Germany sees record infections
Germany reports record one-day rise in cases; China reports highest cases in two months; US hospitals warned of cyberattacks

Helen Sullivan and agencies

29, Oct, 2020 @6:10 AM

Article image
Global report: Fauci voices Covid-19 fears for Trump rally as São Paulo faces cemetery crisis
Rallies and protests present infection risk; Brazilian city to exhume bodies to free up more space; fresh domestic cases cause alarm in Beijing

Guardian staff

13, Jun, 2020 @5:23 AM

Article image
Global report: South Africa records biggest jump in Covid-19 cases since pandemic hit
Brazil surges past 600,000 cases as death toll jumps Italy’s; New York governor urges protesters to be tested; Turkey imposes weekend lockdown

Alison Rourke

05, Jun, 2020 @4:12 AM