Coronavirus: China reimposes lockdown on 400,000 people in area near Beijing after cases spike

People in face masks walk by a decoration outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China, on Sunday. (AP)

China has reimposed a coronavirus lockdown on about 400,000 people in an area near Beijing after a spike in cases.

Restrictions have been reinstated in the Anxin county area of Hebei province, about 90 miles (144km) from the nation’s capital.

The regional lockdown returns as the global death toll from coronavirus passed the 500,000 mark.

The COVID-19 pandemic originated in China at the end of last year but the number of new infections has since dropped dramatically.

However, 18 new cases have been reported in Anxin in the past two weeks, Chinese authorities said.

As a result, health officials announced on Sunday that the county would be “fully enclosed and controlled”.

The new lockdown, which will affect about 400,000 people, means only essential workers are allowed to leave their homes.

Only one member of a household is permitted to go out once a day to shop for food or medical supplies.

People wearing face masks stand in line for coronavirus tests at a community health clinic in Beijing, China, on Sunday. (AP)

Chinese officials urged residents of Anxin to “supervise each other and strictly comply with relevant requirements”.

Anyone who disobeys the restrictions will face “severe treatment by public security according to the law”.

China follows other nations in reinstating lockdown restrictions after a spike in cases.

Last Monday, Portugal reimposed restrictions, including an 8pm curfew, in its capital Lisbon after a surge.

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And on Tuesday, Germany reintroduced a lockdown in the Gütersloh district in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia after an outbreak linked to a meatpacking plant.

Another 14 cases of coronavirus were reported in Beijing in the 24-hour period up to Sunday, bringing the total to 311 in the past two weeks.

A new outbreak was first reported in the capital’s Xinfadi food market. Workers there have been ordered to quarantine for a month.

Tens of millions of Chinese people were ordered to stay at home during the lockdown at the height of COVID-19 outbreak in Hubei province and other parts of the country.

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