The Latest: China says COVID-19 hospitalizations above 1,000

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A man and woman wearing masks to help protect themselves from the coronavirus share a smartphone on the street in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. A global team of researchers for the World Health Organization arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING — China says it is now treating more than 1,000 people for COVID-19 as numbers of cases continue to surge in the country’s north.

The National Health Commission said Friday that 1,001 patients are under care for the disease, 26 of them in serious condition. It says 144 total new cases were recorded in the previous 24 hours.

The province of Hebei, just outside Beijing, accounted for 90 of the new cases, while Heilongjiang province farther north reported 43 new cases.

While there have been no reports of hospital bed shortages, Hebei has begun constructing a new quarantine center outside the provincial capital of Shijiazhuang in case it is needed.

Shijiazhuang and the cities of Xingtai and Langfang are under virtual lockdown, confining more than 20 million people to their homes.

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