A Chinese border city is starting to look even more like the new Wuhan with the first steps of a travel lockdown coming into effect.
The situation in Suifenhe
On Sunday, officials suspended some train services to the Heilongjiang city of Suifenhe following a spike in imported coronavirus cases coming in from Russia. The routes that have been put out of commission include those to big cities like Harbin and Dalian.
The city of Suifenhe is located on the far eastern end of Heilongjiang province and typically serves as a busy border crossing with the Russian city of Vladivostok located nearby.
However, last week the city shut down its border with Russia as dozens of travelers each day tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, overwhelming the local health system. Suifenhe is now up to nearly 200 imported cases.
While China has banned all foreigners from entry and significantly cut down on international flights, imported coronavirus cases continue to trickle into the country. In this case, Chinese nationals living in Russia had been flying to Vladivostok and then crossing by land into China via Suifenhe.
The Chinese consulate in Vladivostok has warned travelers that this avenue is now closed. Meanwhile, Suifenhe authorities have vowed to carry out strict 24-hour patrols of the border.
Residents of Suifenhe have been told to isolate themselves at home, only coming out once every three days to buy groceries. Public venues have been closed and all gatherings have been banned.
Other problems at the border
Manzhouli, a city in northern Inner Mongolia that serves as China’s largest land port with Russia, is experiencing similar issues, reporting 34 new imported coronavirus cases on Sunday alone. It has yet to close its border.
Meanwhile, a whopping 60 passengers on the same flight from Russia have tested positive after landing in Shanghai.
These reports certainly don’t seem to bode well for Russia, which has just reported a record-high number of new cases at 2,558, bringing its nationwide tally up to 18,328.