Chinese city ramps up coronavirus restrictions in country's biggest known outbreak since pandemic began

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China has imposed strict measures on a northeastern city of 10 million people, including banning non-residents and vehicles registered elsewhere, after a wave of coronavirus infections.

The city of Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang near the Russian border, reported seven new COVID-19 infections, bringing its total to 52.

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“All confirmed cases, suspected cases, close contacts of asymptomatic people, and close contacts of close contacts should be quarantined and tested,” state media cited the city government as saying.

The province as a whole reported 537 confirmed cases Tuesday, Reuters reported. China, once the epicenter of the pandemic, has seen a sharp decrease in reported cases as Beijing looks to ease restrictions across the country and reopen its economy.

Russia, however, has seen a surge in infections. As of Wednesday, the country had 58,000 known cases, including 450 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Many Chinese citizens fly into Harbin from Russia.

Earlier this month, the city imposed a 28-day quarantine for anyone arriving from outside of China. On Wednesday, the government said it would institute two-week lockdowns for homes where confirmed and asymptomatic cases are reported, according to Reuters.

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The measures come as Beijing is trying to reposition itself as a model for how to combat the fast-spreading virus. The propaganda campaign has fallen on deaf ears as some governments are accusing China of a bungled response and are demanding compensation over the outbreak, which originated in the city of Wuhan.