Beijing

27 neighbourhoods not allowed to leave as spike continues

 The city reported another 31 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 137 in the past week.

Before the recent spike, the Chinese capital had gone 57 days without a locally-transmitted case.

The outbreak is believed to have started in the massive Xinfandi food market that supplies 80% of the city's meat and vegetables.

At least 27 neighbourhoods have been classed as medium risk and one neighbourhood, near the market, is high risk.

People in medium or high-risk areas cannot leave the city. People in low-risk areas can leave, but need to test negative first.

Beijing tightens controls amid spike in local coronavirus cases

The city has seen more than 100 new cases in the fresh outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

For more than seven weeks Beijing had only registered cases from people travelling in from abroad.

New clusters of coronavirus are "always a concern", said Mike Ryan, the WHO's emergencies programme head.

"But what we do like to see is an immediate response to that and comprehensive set of measures," he added.

What do we know about the new cases?

The fresh outbreak has been linked to city's largest wholesale market, Xinfadi.

Fear of second wave in Beijing after market outbreak

 The outbreak has been linked to the city's largest wholesale market.

A total of 45 people out of 517 tested at the Xinfadi market tested positive for Covid-19, a district official said. None were displaying symptoms.

Lockdowns have been imposed in 11 nearby neighbourhoods, while 10,000 market staff will be tested.

The authorities also want to test everyone who has had recent contact with the market as well as those living in the district surrounding it.

These are the first new confirmed cases in Beijing for more than 50 days.

Cases triple as infection spreads to Beijing and Shanghai

There are now more than 200 cases, mostly in Wuhan, though the respiratory illness has also been detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Three people have died. Japan, Thailand and South Korea have reported cases.

The new strain of coronavirus, which causes a type of pneumonia, can pass from person to person, China confirmed.

Respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, who heads the health commission team investigating the virus, said 14 medical workers had caught it while treating patients, state media reported.

China cautions Australia over sea policy

On Thursday, Australia raised concerns about the "pace and scale" of China's activities in the disputed zone - part of a wide-ranging document setting out Canberra's foreign engagement strategy.

Beijing said the paper was generally positive towards China, but Australia should not get involved in the dispute.

The Australian government played down the criticism on Friday.

In a briefing on Thursday, China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang noted that Australia had repeatedly pledged not to take sides over the South China Sea.

North Korea: China stomping on 'red line' in relations

A commentary in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun vowed North Korea would not give up its nuclear program. It accused China of "dancing to the tune of the US" and providing Washington excuses to deploy more military assets to the Korean Peninsula.

Beijing gets tough on dancing grannies

The women, usually retirees, meet at dusk and dawn in public squares, plazas or parks and perform synchronized dance routines to deafeningly-loud music -- often with costumes or props.

Public dancing has exploded in popularity in China as these women -- and a few men -- look for low-cost ways to stay fit and socialize.

"Our main purpose is to get some exercise," said Ma Lijun, 56, a square dancer. Since 2012, she has shown up religiously at 8 p.m. in the square in front of Beijing's Raffles shopping mall.

Beijing makes 'no fireworks' plea amid smog concerns

The call comes after the entire province of Henan banned the practice.

Authorities have been under pressure to stop the heavy pollution blanketing the capital and other parts of China.

The Chinese tradition of setting off fireworks and firecrackers to ring in the new year is considered auspicious and an essential part of celebrations.

The Spring Festival, as it is also known, starts on Saturday and is China's biggest holiday period.

Beijing threatens legal action over webcam claims

It follows a product recall from the Chinese electronics firm Hangzhou after its web cameras were used in a massive web attack last week.

The attack knocked out sites such as Reddit, Twitter, Paypal and Spotify.

The Chinese government blamed customers for not changing their passwords.

Beijing and Delhi: Two cities and two ways of dealing with smogs

When Beijing's air was forecast to reach hazardous levels for three straight days earlier in December, the government issued a smog red alert. The result: Half the city's cars were off the roads within hours, schools were closed and construction sites shut down. Less than three days later, pollution levels had dropped by 30 percent.