China has locked down several cities near its northern border with Mongolia, following several outbreaks of Covid-19.
The largest outbreak took place in the Inner Mongolian city of Manzhouli, a crucial land port of entry on the border with Russia.
As of Tuesday, the city had 34 confirmed cases, bringing its total number of cases to 73 since the start of the current epidemic which began on Saturday.
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region in northeast China, bordering independent Mongolia and Russia.
As of Monday, a total of 42 locally transmitted cases were also reported in two provinces and three municipalities in northern China, mainly in the city of Hulunbuir.
The city of Manzhouli conducted three city-wide mass tests on its 300,000 residents over three days, according to the local government. The third round of testing took place on Tuesday morning.
The city has been placed under strict lockdown, with public transport suspended and 24-hour guarded checkpoints set up around its borders.
All residents are prohibited from going outside, with the exception of medical support staff and delivery personnel. Businesses, schools, universities and kindergartens are closed in Manzhouli, the local government said in a press release on Monday.
Genome sequencing of the first three cases in Manzhouli revealed that infections may have spread via “imported goods,” the Manzhouli Center for Outbreak Prevention and Control said on Tuesday.
From December 1, the Manzhouli rail port will suspend the import of goods other than containers requiring manual handling.
Several other towns – a few hundred kilometers from Manzhouli – have also been locked down, with major roads connecting the districts blocked.