Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has inspected north China's Hebei Province, demanding efforts to curb the recently emerged spread of COVID-19 in the province as soon as possible.
Hebei Province reported 40 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases, all in Shijiazhuang City, from midnight to 10:00 a.m. local time Sunday, local authorities said at a press briefing.
Sun made the inspection tour from Wednesday to Friday, paying visits to a village in Shijiazhuang City, a quarantine site, a local community, an epidemic control center, and hospitals to learn about local conditions.
Sun also had meetings with local governments and experts, calling for resolute measures to curb the spread of the outbreak.
The cluster infections in Hebei developed fast, with 85.5 percent of the infected coming from rural areas of which many are elderly, officials said.
Sun demanded local Party committees and governments to act swiftly and strengthen their efforts in personnel monitoring, nucleic acid testing, patient admission and treating, source tracing, and material support.
Sun pointed out that rural areas, schools, senior care centers, prisons, and religious venues are the key areas that should be closely monitored.
For communities already in lockdown, management staff should ensure that sufficient daily necessities and heating are being supplied, she stressed.
There is no evidence suggesting any direct link of religious gatherings with the source of cluster infections in the coronavirus-hit county of Gaocheng district in Shijiazhuang, local authorities said on Saturday.
All religious venues have been closed down right after the local outbreak, and all religious activities suspended.
(With input from Xinhua)