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China halts freight trains to North Korea

China halts freight trains to North Korea - Photo 1.

A worker disinfects imported goods at a warehouse in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China – Photo: SCMP

“Due to the COVID-19 situation in Dandong, after friendly consultations between the two sides, China decided to suspend the cargo service from Dandong to Sinuiju,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced on the afternoon of April 29.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency previously quoted private sources as saying the Dandong government stopped the train line at North Korea’s request.

North Korean state media have not yet commented. The disruption of the railway line carrying goods from China to North Korea comes just four months after Pyongyang eased epidemic prevention measures that will come into effect in 2020.

North Korea has not registered any COVID-19 cases, but continues to apply strong epidemic prevention measures and remains vigilant about the epidemic situation in surrounding countries.

The city of Dandong in Liaoning Province, situated directly on the banks of the Yalu River, is the natural border between China and Korea. The city is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak with 220 infections recorded from April 22-27.

In response to COVID-19, Dandong has cordoned off 77 residential areas and quarantined people coming from other places, according to Reuters news agency. Because China is experiencing the worst outbreak since the Wuhan wave of 2020.

In Beijing, the authorities have closed many gyms, shopping malls, cinemas and residential complexes in parallel with increasing tracing to stop the chain of infection.

The city of Hangzhou, population 12 million in Zhejiang province, also applies strict epidemic prevention regulations, mandating a PCR test every 48 hours. Around 6,500 sampling points have been set up across the city for this purpose.

From April 30, people must present a negative test result to enter residential areas, offices, train stations and other public places in Hangzhou, according to the report. South China tomorrow post.

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