Chinese steelmaking hub Tangshan enters lockdown as COVID cases rise

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A volunteer helps residents who are affected by the measures to prevent and control the novel coronavirus to purchase daily necessities from a store in Tangshan, Hebei province, China February 6, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

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March 23 (Reuters) - China's top steelmaking city Tangshan implemented a temporary lockdown on Tuesday to avoid further cases of COVID-19 as infections surged, the local government said in a statement.

Residents should not leave their houses or buildings except for tests or emergencies pending further announcement, the government said.

Tangshan reported 15 confirmed locally transmitted cases from March 19-22, and 79 asymptomatic cases, while Hebei province, where Tangshan is located, had 331 confirmed cases and 2,454 asymptomatic cases as of March 22, data from the provincial health authority showed.

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The city has halted public transportation since March 19 and implemented traffic controls on March 20.

China is maintaining a "dynamic clearance" approach which aims to cut COVID transmission as soon as possible using stringent measures such as short and targeted shutdowns and quick testing schemes where cases are found. read more

Tangshan produced 131.11 million tonnes of crude steel in 2021, accounting for nearly 13% of China's total production, surpassing the world's second-biggest steelmaker India, which made 118 million tonnes of the metal last year.

Prices for steelmaking ingredients fell during the night session on Tuesday after the lockdown notice was issued, with benchmark Dalian iron ore and coke both down around 3%, and coking coal prices fell nearly 4%. Those markets were range-bound on Wednesday.

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Reporting by Min Zhang and Twinnie Siu, Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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