China: Xian enters into strict lockdown after Coronavirus cases surge
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China is suffering a large coronavirus outbreak that has plunged a city of 13 million people into lockdown. China has reported 158 new local transmissions of COVID-19 in Xi’an, which is located in a northwestern Shaanxi province, presenting one of the biggest challenges to the country’s strict no Covid policy.
The outbreak is the largest in China seen in the last 21 months, following a successful curb of the disease in the early stages of the worldwide pandemic.
Xi’an has entered its fourth day of lockdown as cases grow rapidly, with some 157 cases detected as of Sunday.
Some 75 new symptomatic cases were detected on Saturday alone.
One member of each household is allowed to leave their home once every two days to buy food and medicine, and only essential workers are permitted to leave at other times.
Residents of the city may not leave without approval from local authorities or employers.
Multiple rounds of mass testing have been conducted to find all the cases and isolate them as soon as possible.
All domestic flights out of Xian and most trains from the city scheduled for Friday were cancelled.
Officials say the outbreak has been traced to the arrival of a plane from Pakistan.
Officials have also confirmed that none of the new cases are the Omicron variant.
Local government has also announced it would launch a city-wide disinfection campaign, and has urged residents to shut windows as disinfectant is poured and sprayed over the city.
But despite their efforts, Chinese officials in Xi’an will be facing punishment from the central Government for not acting quickly enough.
China is also facing a wider coronavirus issue outside of Xi’an.
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Mainland China has confirmed 206 new cases, including importations, as of Christmas Day – up 140 from a day earlier.
No new deaths were reported, leaving the cumulative death toll at 4,636.
Mainland China had 101,077 confirmed cases in total as of December 25.
China is particularly determined to extinguish any outbreak as Beijing prepares to stage the Winter Olympics in February.
The country has all but shut its borders to international arrivals, and those coming for the Games will be sequestered inside a strictly enforced “closed-loop”.
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