Chinese City Bordering North Korea imposes martial law after spike in coronavirus cases

A Chinese city bordering North Korea on Sunday imposed the martial law after 11 people tested coronavirus positive, sparking fears of rebound of the deadly virus, official media here reported.

They were infected after coming in contact with a laundrywoman, state-run Global Times reported.

“Shulan city should impose martial law in line with the requirements of highest-risk level prevention and control,” Bayin Chaolu, the secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China, said as he presided over an anti-epidemic meeting on Sunday, the paper reported.

Bayin said the clustered infections in Shulan pose great danger to the lives of the public and the situation is heart-breaking, exposing the shortfalls and loopholes in anti-epidemic work. Those who failed to take action over the epidemic will be held responsible, the report said.

Shulan raised its epidemic-response on Sunday to the highest level, making it the only city in China to do so currently, after it reported 11 domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the report said.

Shulan imposed lockdown in local communities and villages from Saturday. Exits and entrances are being guarded by designated people, leaving only one door for local residents to enter. Only one family member is allowed to purchase daily necessities each day.

The local railway company halted nearly a dozen train services from Sunday to May 31 in and out of Shulan.

All public transportation, including buses, suspended services from Sunday, and no taxi is allowed to leave the city, which has a population of 630,000, the paper said.

China had downgraded COVID-19 risk levels in all regions signalling its containment and the country has almost returned to normal with business and factories resuming their operations.

On Sunday, China reported 14 new coronavirus cases including one from the first COVID-19 epicentre of Hubei province, taking the number of infections in the country to 82,901, while over 4,630 people have succumbed to the disease, health officials said.