Beijing: Officials in the northeast China city of Harbin have begun closing down the city after three covid infection cases were reported on Wednesday.
The three patients were all reported in Harbin's Bayan county and live in the same community. National-level health officials have been sent to the city of 9.5 million people to deal with what may be a coronavirus outbreak.
After the initial finding, local officials are urging residents to not leave the city, closing public venues and suspending large activities. From Wednesday, all schools and kindergartens will have online classes.
Public places including cinemas, massage parlours and gyms, private clinics and religious places have suspended their operations and activities starting Tuesday. Airports, train stations, restaurants and hospitals in the city have also begun strengthening their daily epidemic control measures.
Nucleic acid tests are being rolled out in places where the positive cases have visited.
City authorities say residents must display a negative virus test to be able to leave for only essential travel.
China has been able to keep the virus from transmitting widely within its borders through a costly and strict strategy that relies on lockdowns and mass testing.