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22 Dec, 2021 16:40

Millions of people sent into Covid lockdown in China

Millions of people sent into Covid lockdown in China

Authorities in China’s Xi'an have put the city on lockdown, closing all non-essential shops and barring all restaurants from opening, after reporting some 140 domestically transmitted Covid cases in the last 10 days.

In a press conference on Wednesday, officials in Xi'an announced the implementation of new measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. All non-essential shops will be temporarily closed, while dine-in eateries will not be allowed open until the number of coronavirus infections falls.  

From Thursday, only one person in each household can leave their home to visit essential shops every two days. Everyone else must remain home unless they have jobs deemed essential by the government, official Zhang Fenghu said.

City authorities also called on people not to leave Xi’an unless they had taken a Covid-19 test and received a negative result. According to state broadcaster CCTV, local authorities had already persuaded some 7,000 people not to leave the city.

Large-scale conferences, training days, garden parties and dances are among a long list of events and activities prohibited by the local government in an effort to limit the spread of Covid. Businesses have also been encouraged to provide flexible work arrangements for employees.

Covid testing measures and temperature scanning will be stepped up, according to officials.

The northwestern city, home to 13 million people, has reported more than140 locally transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms since December 12. The cluster was reportedly caused by the Delta variant of Covid-19. 

Beijing has signaled its desire to stamp out new Covid clusters as soon as they emerge. Recent research has also sparked concerns about the efficacy of Chinese vaccines against the latest variant of Covid-19, the highly contagious Omicron strain, compared to earlier versions of the virus.