China confines entire city after three COVID-19 cases

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China has confined a small town on the border with Burma and launched general screening of residents after the discovery of three cases of COVID-19, city hall said on Tuesday.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

The Asian country has for several months contained the epidemic on its soil. Only a few new patients are identified every day, almost all of them Chinese who have returned from abroad and placed in quarantine upon their arrival.

Populated by 210,000 people, the confined commune is that of Ruili, located in the province of Yunnan (southwest) on the border with Burma. It is an important crossing point between the two countries.

All residents must now stay at home and will undergo a screening test, city hall said on Tuesday. She said that no entry or exit from the city is now allowed.

In addition, all shops in the town are closed, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and food markets.

The Covid-19 patients have arrived from Burma, said the town hall, which has promised to “crack down” against people crossing the border illegally.

Ruili is separated by a small river from the Burmese locality of Muse, known for its sordid streets, casinos, as well as its arms and drug trafficking.

China has reported in recent months several localized outbreaks, including one in Beijing. But they were quickly treated with lockdowns, identification of contact cases and quarantines.

The Asian country still remains closed to foreigners, with rare exceptions.

The Chinese Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported eight new COVID-19 patients in China, all of whom had come from abroad.

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