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China blocks another 3 million after a traveler spreads virus

China blocks another 3 million after a traveler spreads virus

 While China has largely controlled the virus, a sharp increase in cases in recent weeks has prompted new lockdowns, travel restrictions, and multiple rounds of massive testing.

On Monday, three million residents of two cities in the northeastern province of Jilin were subjected to new measures, as China reported 109 new infections.

More than 19 million people in northeast China are now banned from leaving their homes and, in some cases, can only request permission to go shopping once every three days.

Authorities have traced more than 100 infections in Jilin province to an asymptomatic street vendor in neighboring Heilongjiang, where authorities declared a state of emergency last week.

The vendor had traveled to two different cities, now closed, and conducted health care workshops to middle-aged and elderly residents, according to local officials.

An investigation was initiated at the health centers that hosted the workshops to determine whether their operations constitute illegal commercial activities.

Healthcare workshops that sometimes market products that claim to increase "longevity" have been accused of targeting vulnerable groups in China, particularly the elderly.

The People's Daily, a state newspaper, published a comment on Monday criticizing the workshops as "risking lives for money, under the pretext of caring for the health of the elderly."

The blockades also spread to other areas of northeast China over the weekend, including a Harbin district, which currently hosts a popular ice sculpture festival that is often a huge draw for tourists.

But local authorities partially lifted blockades in two cities in Hebei province outside of Beijing, which has accounted for the majority of cases in recent weeks, although some 12.5 million are still being told to stay at home.

More than 20,000 residents of villages in the area were quarantined in a centralized location, state media reported last week.

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