China seals off second major city in two days – millions locked down as WHO visit banned

Coronavirus: WHO warns pandemic at 'critical inflection point'

Residents of Xingtai, in Hubei province, have been banned from leaving the city due to a covid-19 alert. It comes hours after Shijiazhuang’s 11 million residents were locked down. The lockdowns come despite official claims from China that the country has largely regained control of the outbreak.

Wuhan was the source of the pandemic but the city celebrated New Year with mass crowds and celebrations.

For months, China has said new cases have almost entirely originated from travellers and domestic spreading is minimal.

But just days ago a team from the World Health Organization was banned from carrying out an official visit.

Earlier this week WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Today, we learned that Chinese officials have not yet finalized the necessary permissions for the team’s arrival in China.

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“I’m very disappointed with this news, given that two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute, but had been in contact with senior Chinese officials.”

This is a developing story, more to follow… 

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