China reports drop in new Covid-19 cases as Hebei steps up curbs

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) – China saw a drop in the number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Jan 11 amid a flurry of new measures in Hebei province surrounding Beijing, ranging from home quarantine starting on Tuesday (Jan 12) in one county and a lockdown of the provincial capital.

The National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that a total of 55 new Covid-19 cases were reported, down from 103 a day earlier.

Hebei accounted for 40 of the 42 local infections, with Beijing and northeastern Heilongjiang province reporting one local case each.

The daily case tallies remain a small fraction of what China saw at the height of the outbreak in early 2020.

Hebei’s capital Shijiazhuang, a city of 11 million, has been hardest hit in the latest surge in infections and has been placed under lockdown.

Guan county in Hebei announced that it would implement home quarantine measures between Jan 12-18, state television reported on Tuesday, citing a statement from the county.

The measures apply to all urban and rural residents of the county, with exceptions including party and government staff engaged in epidemic control work, and businesses such as supermarkets and markets providing life necessities. State TV did not say how many Covid-19 cases were reported in the county.

The number of new asymptomatic cases in mainland China, which authorities do not classify as confirmed Covid-19 cases, rose to 81 from 76 a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reported in mainland China now stands at 87,591, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

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