Local media reported that China has imposed a lockdown in its northern city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province on January 6, after 63 coronavirus cases, 20 confirmed infections and 43 asymptomatic cases all locally transmitted, were confirmed. The whole of Shijiazhuang, which has a population of 11 million, is placed under lockdown measures, with passenger train services suspended to prevent further spread of the virus. Flights and coach services to Beijing 300km northeast of Shijiazhuang were cancelled. The Gaocheng district of provincial capital Shijiazhuang would organise testing for all its permanent residents
Hebei is China’s No 1 steelmaking province and its steel output still contributing on average to about one quarter of China, followed by Jiangsu Province at 11% and Shandong Provine at 8%. According to Dun & Bradstreet, Shijiazhuang has about 200 industries related to steel sector, with prominent ones being HBIS Company Limited, Jingye Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Shijiazhuang Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Heye Special Steel Co Ltd, Hebei Fengda Iron and Steel Co Ltd and Hebei Shilu Special Steel Co Ltd.
Nationally, mainland China reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on January 4, with 14 of the 17 local cases recorded in Hebei and 16 cases imported from overseas. The province had entered wartime mode, meaning investigation teams would be set up at provincial, city and district levels to trace the close contacts of those who have tested positive. In turn, the close contacts of those people would also be located, isolation measures would be put in place and testing carried out.
Beijing is scheduled to host China's annual parliamentary meeting in March. Last year's gathering was postponed by more than two months because of the coronavirus outbreak.