Asia Today: China asks residents in 2 cities to stay home

Chinese authorities have asked residents in two cities south of Beijing to stay home for seven days as they try to stamp out a COVID-19 outbreak in which more than 300 people have tested positive in the past week

BEIJING — Chinese authorities have asked residents in two cities south of Beijing to stay home for seven days as they try to stamp out a COVID-19 outbreak in which more than 300 people have tested positive in the past week.

The cities of Shijiazhuang and Xingtai in Hebei province are restricting people to their communities and villages and have banned gatherings, according to notices they posted on social media.

Hebei reported 14 more confirmed cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total in the ongoing outbreak to 137. It has found another 197 people without symptoms who tested positive. China does not include such asymptomatic cases in its confirmed count.

Beijing is requiring workers from Hebei to show proof of employment in Beijing and a negative COVID test before entering the nation’s capital. Chinese media reported hours-long backups at entry points on Friday.

In a separate outbreak, three more cases were reported in Liaoning province in the northeast, bringing the total there to 84 since the first cases surfaced about three weeks ago. Beijing has had 31 cases over the same period, though no new ones in the past 24 hours.