Millions in China lockdown over new COVID-19 threat

China put nearly 5 million people under lockdown in areas around Bejing on Tuesday (January 12), as new infections raised worries about a second wave in a country that has mostly contained the disease.

Though the over 50 new COVID-19 cases confirmed are a small fraction of what the country saw at the height of the outbreak early last year, authorities aren't taking any chances, and have introduced strict curbs whenever new instances emerge.

The new numbers are half of the number reported the day before - the country's biggest daily increase in over five months.

Most of the new cases that were locally transmitted on Tuesday were reported in Hebei province, surrounding Beijing.

Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital, has been hardest hit in the latest increase in infections and has already placed its population of 11 million under lockdown, barring people and vehicles from leaving.

A district in Shijiazhuang is gathering more than 20,000 people living in 12 remote villages into centralized quarantine as part of the city's COVID-19 control, state media China News Service reported late Monday.

Other provinces in China are reporting new confirmed or asymptomatic cases.

A World Health Organization team investigating the origin of the coronavirus is due to arrive in the city of Wuhan on Thursday (January 14), where the virus emerged in late 2019, after a delay that Beijing has called a "misunderstanding".