Chinese city of 13m shut down for week to avoid Covid 'explosion'

Chinese city of 13 MILLION people is shut down for a week to avoid Covid ‘explosion’ after just 18 cases are recorded

  • Businesses, schools and restaurants in Xi’an to close for one week 
  • New lockdown imposed after just 18 cases were found since Saturday 
  • China again tries to impose a zero-Covid policy on it’s 1.4 billion citizens 
  • New lockdown thought to be driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant
  • Xi’an is a historic city of 13 million and home to the famous Terra Cotta Army
  • Businesses, schools and restaurants in Xi’an will close for one week, officials said Tuesday, after the Chinese city logged a handful of Covid-19 cases as outbreaks nationwide strain Beijing‘s zero-tolerance virus approach.

    China is the last major economy wedded to a zero-Covid strategy, deploying snap lockdowns, quarantines and travel curbs in a bid to weed out new infections.

    Xi’an – a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year – has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to official notices.

    City official Zhang Xuedong said at a Tuesday press conference that Xi’an would implement ‘seven-day temporary control measures’ that would ‘allow society to quieten down as much as possible, reduce mobility… and cut the risk of cross-infection’.

    ‘We must race against both time and the virus… to guard against all possible risks and hidden dangers, and decisively avoid an explosion in community spreading,’ Zhang said.

    Public entertainment venues including pubs, internet cafes and karaoke bars will shut their doors from midnight on Wednesday, the city government said in a notice.

    Xi'an - a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year - has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant

    Xi’an – a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year – has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant

    Xi'an - home to the Terracotta Warriors - previously experienced one of China's longest stay-at-home orders, shutting off for a month between December and January as thousands of Covid cases were detected

    Xi’an – home to the Terracotta Warriors – previously experienced one of China’s longest stay-at-home orders, shutting off for a month between December and January as thousands of Covid cases were detected

    A resident undergoes a PCR test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Xi'an in China's northern Shaanxi province on December 30, 2021 during the city's previous outbreak

    A resident undergoes a PCR test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Xi’an in China’s northern Shaanxi province on December 30, 2021 during the city’s previous outbreak

    Restaurants will not be allowed to serve diners indoors but may continue to offer takeaway services, it said.

    Schools are to start the summer holiday early and universities will seal off their campuses.

    Xi’an – home to the Terracotta Warriors – previously experienced one of China’s longest stay-at-home orders, shutting off for a month between December and January as thousands of Covid cases were detected.

    City authorities came under fire for their handling of the lockdown, which was plagued by food supply issues and medical tragedies stemming from patients being denied access to hospitals.

    Some residents in the tourist city expressed dismay at the closures on social media Tuesday.

    ‘It’s like they’re addicted to lockdowns. What else do they even do?’ wrote one on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

    City official Zhang Xuedong said at a Tuesday press conference that Xi'an would implement 'seven-day temporary control measures' that would 'allow society to quieten down as much as possible, reduce mobility... and cut the risk of cross-infection'

    City official Zhang Xuedong said at a Tuesday press conference that Xi’an would implement ‘seven-day temporary control measures’ that would ‘allow society to quieten down as much as possible, reduce mobility… and cut the risk of cross-infection’

    Residents line up for Covid-19 tests at a mobile testing site in Xincheng District of Xi'an, in north western China's Shaanxi Province, on January 2

    Residents line up for Covid-19 tests at a mobile testing site in Xincheng District of Xi’an, in north western China’s Shaanxi Province, on January 2

    ‘Here we go again,’ complained another.

    ‘The apartment management told us residents to do PCR from 6-8pm, anyone who didn’t do PCR today must take the test,’ an expat wrote on Twitter. 

    ‘Hearing from colleagues, most of them received the same message. So how long do we have to do this? Just so so ridiculous.’ 

    China logged 335 new domestic cases on Tuesday, most of which were asymptomatic, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).

    China’s latest significant flare-up is in central Anhui province, where 1.7 million people in two counties were under orders to stay at home as of Tuesday.

    Around 90 percent of the nearly 300 infections reported in the province on Monday were asymptomatic, according to the NHC. Over 1,000 cases have been detected during the outbreak so far.

    Separately, city officials in Shanghai have launched a new round of mandatory Covid testing in most districts after ‘successively recording many local positive cases’ since Sunday.

    Many of the commercial hub’s 25 million people will have to take two tests between Tuesday and Thursday, authorities said.

    Despite a gruelling, two-month citywide lockdown being formally lifted at the end of May, parts of Shanghai have simmered under local lockdowns and testing drives after finding sporadic new cases.

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