The southern Chinese province of Guangdong has tightened its Covid-19 controls to prevent imported cases from neighbouring Hong Kong. The city is battling its worst outbreak yet fuelled by the Omicron variant, prompting the Guangdong authorities to hand out strict punishment to drivers who breach cross-border controls. Xu Wei, deputy director of the Shenzhen Transport Bureau, said on Thursday night that Shenzhen had punished 882 truck drivers who violated the rules by suspending their exemptions from entry quarantine for 60 days or permanently cancelling them. Two drivers who deliberately evaded supervision were also being investigated and might face penalties, Xu said. Truck drivers crossing the border must make appointments in advance online before they are allowed to enter the mainland from Hong Kong without having to quarantine. When they cross the border, they must provide a negative coronavirus test result and then undergo a range of further tests and stick to a strict route. Geese patrol Chinese border city to prevent imported Covid-19 cases In all 170 cross-border drivers who travelled from Hong Kong to Shenzhen have tested positive this month. Since February 15, the Chinese tech hub has reported 53 locally transmitted cases, according to the local health commission. Xu said cross-border drivers would come under greater scrutiny. “Shenzhen will implement a full patrol escort, video surveillance, and other initiatives to prevent drivers from breaking the rules,” he said, urging them to comply with the controls. He also called for the general public to actively report any illegal parking and other violations by cross-border truck drivers. To reduce the pressure on land ports and to protect the supply of essential goods to Hong Kong, Shenzhen was promoting cross-border waterway transport and planning to open rail lines for the transport of goods, he said. Hong Kong is going through a fifth Covid-19 wave, with health officials revealing they had recorded more than 17,000 reported infections on Wednesday, including confirmed and preliminary-positive test results for samples collected that day. Only 8,798 of these could be confirmed on Thursday because of a backlog of test samples. Chinese CDC researchers call for extra Covid-19 testing during quarantine Across mainland China, 224 new symptomatic cases were reported on Friday, including 82 local cases and 142 imported ones. Eight of the local cases were reported in Shenzhen, according to the National Health Commission. There were also 109 new asymptomatic infections detected, including 22 local cases and 87 imported ones.