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Beijing extends quarantine for overseas arrivals to 3 weeks

Beijing, April 23 (IANS) People coming to Beijing from abroad must undergo one week of additional quarantine, besides the two weeks period that was mandatory until now due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to authorities in the Chinese capital.

The move will affect mostly Chinese citizens, given that foreigners, barring a few exceptions, have been banned access to the country, reports Efe news.

This change, announced by the authoritieson Wednesday, means that the number of weeks of mandatory confinement for all those arriving in Beijing from other countries rises to three.

Foreigners, except diplomats and some people linked to trade or medical research, are currently banned from entering China due to widespread pandemic across the world.

Until now, people arriving from abroad were required to remain under a 14-day quarantine at a hotel or a centre designated by the authorities.

In some exceptional cases, the city’s residents were allowed to self-quarantine at home.

This is a step further in the government’s measures against the coronavirus, as it seeks to prevent another outbreak from cases coming from abroad, after apparently bringing domestic infections under control.

The Beijing authorities’ decision came soon after a student from the US infected three members of his family after undergoing a two-week quarantine at a hotel, at the end of which he had tested negative for COVID-19.

Another 62 people, which include those who had close contact with the student and their families, have been placed in solitary confinement under medical observation.

Chaoyang district, where this incident occurred and where the financial centre of the Chinese capital is located, is now the only area officially considered “high risk” in the entire country.

The deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s in Beijing, Liu Xiaofeng, explained that after the quarantine, residents of Chaoyang district should remain under observation inside their homes for seven days and take utmost personal protective measures.

In the same district there was another case of linked to a Chinese woman who tested positive despite completing the quarantine period after arriving in Beijing from London on Maron 20.

The woman had symptoms during the 14 days of confinement but took medications on her own and did not bring it to the attention of the observation staff at the designated centre.

According to Beijing health authorities, the failure to report her symptoms caused delays in treatment and contributed to aggravating the woman’s condition.

Most experts and scientific studies estimate that the virus may have an incubation period of 1-14 days in the human body before symptoms appear, while the average is about five days.

However, these recent cases, along with some other local ones in China, have shown that the virus can remain asymptomatic for much longer.

Although the pandemic originated in Wuhan city last December, China now accounts for 83,876 coronavirus cases with 4,636 deaths, much less that other countries like the US which has the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world.

–IANS

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