BEIJING (AP) – China reimposed coronavirus checks on travel to its southern province of Guangdong on Monday, announcing that anyone leaving the populated area must be tested for the virus following a spike in infections that alarmed the authorities.
Guangdong, which borders Hong Kong, recorded 20 new confirmed cases, all contracted locally, within 24 hours until midnight Sunday. Guangdong’s numbers are low compared to many places around the world, but the rise has rocked Chinese leaders who believed they had the disease under control.
People leaving Guangdong by plane, train, bus or private car after 10 p.m. on Monday must present nucleic acid test results within the past 72 hours, the provincial government said. He said test stations for truck drivers would be set up on main roads.
The government in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, a business center of 15 million people, ordered mass testing after the discovery of locally acquired infections from May 21. The government said 700,000 people had been tested until last Wednesday.
China eased most restrictions on domestic travel after the ruling Communist Party declared the virus under control last March. Travelers arriving from abroad still need to be tested.
On Saturday, residents of a neighborhood in Guangzhou were ordered to stay in their homes for door-to-door testing. In some areas, outdoor markets and daycares have been closed, and in-person elementary school classes and indoor restaurant meals have been canceled.
China reports a handful of new cases every day, but says almost all are believed to be infected overseas. The official death toll on the continent stands at 4,636 out of 9,099 confirmed cases.