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Friday, 14 February 2020 15:25

People returning to Beijing under quarantine as China struggles to pick up economy

Written by Reuters
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BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese capital Beijing on Friday imposed a 14-day self-quarantine on people returning to the city from holidays to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, and threatened to punish those who failed to comply.

It was not immediately clear how the restriction, relayed by the official Beijing Daily newspaper, would be enforced, or whether it would apply to non-residents of Beijing or foreigners arriving from abroad.

A top Chinese official, in an interview with Reuters, acknowledged that coronavirus was a deep challenge, but defended Beijing’s management of the epidemic and lashed out at the “overreaction” of some other countries.

State Counsellor Wang Yi, who also serves as China’s foreign minister, said China has taken the most rigorous and decisive measures to fight the epidemic, with many efforts going beyond international health regulations and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

“Through our efforts the epidemic is overall under control,” he said.

China is struggling to get its economy going after the annual Lunar New Year holiday, which was extended for 10 days to help contain the outbreak of the new and highly contagious respiratory virus.

Authorities reported 5,090 new cases in mainland China, including more than 120 deaths, taking the number of infected to 63,851, and the number of deaths to 1,380.

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