Chinese city of 10 million in lockdown after cluster of new coronavirus cases detected with New York student blamed for outbreak

A city in China’s northeast has been put into lockdown after new clusters of coronavirus cases emerged in the area.

HARBIN has taken on the severe new measures after 70 new coronavirus cases were detected in the city, with local officials claiming a New York University student brought the coronavirus back when she returned home from the US.

According to multiple reports, some 4,000 people in Harben are now being tested for Covid-19.

Harbin, which has a population of 10 million, restricted travel on Wednesday, after the 22-year-old graduate student was accused of sparking a local outbreak, infecting dozens of people.

According to the Harbin Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the student identified only as Han, returned from New York to her hometown on March 19.

She went through a two-week quarantine during period, showed no symptoms and tested negative for the virus, reports China’s Southern Urban Daily.

But health officials believe she was a ‘silent carrier,’ spreading the virus to her neighbour by contaminating the building.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Post, the infection then passed to a man in his 80’s who was hospitalised twice for Covid-19, possibly infecting others.

Health officials claim the man has been linked to at least 78 cases, including relatives, patients and their families, and medical professionals.

Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, has ordered inbound traffic restrictions and banned entry to residential zones by non-locals and vehicles registered elsewhere, to contain the spread of the virus.

Harbin has already ordered 28 days of quarantine for anyone arriving from outside China or other identified hotspots.

A city government official said that “all confirmed cases, suspected cases, close contacts of asymptomatic people, and close contacts of close contacts should be quarantined and tested.”

Author badge placeholder
Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page