Ahead Of Beijing Winter Olympics, China Puts 13 Million Residents Of Xi'an City Under Lockdown Amid Latest COVID Surge

Swarajya Staff

Dec 23, 2021, 03:56 PM | Updated 04:13 PM IST

Residents line up at a COVID-19 testing site in Xi'an (Pic Via Chinese state news agency Xinhua)
Residents line up at a COVID-19 testing site in Xi'an (Pic Via Chinese state news agency Xinhua)

In a bid to control the latest surge in Coronavirus outbreak, China has put around 13 million residents of the Xi'an city under lockdown after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The citywide restrictions in Xi'an, the capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, come just weeks before the country is set to host the winter Olympics in Beijing, which is around 1,200 km from Xi'an.

However, there was reportedly no official word on whether the latest outbreak was due to new Omicron Covid-19 variant, which has spread in over 80 countries around the world and has been declared a Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO), or the more common delta.

"A total of 127 people tested positive for the virus during the second round of citywide nucleic acid testing, showed data released Thursday by the city's epidemic prevention and control headquarters," Chinese state-controlled news agency Xinhua said in a report.

All communities, villages and working units have been closed off since Thursday, and citizens have been asked not to leave the city unless very necessary, according to the report.

Further, long distance passenger transport lines have been suspended in the city, except freight vehicles transporting epidemic prevention materials and daily necessities.

Taxis and online ride-hailing vehicles are forbidden from entering medium- and high-risk areas or traveling outside the city, the report said.

China has recorded just seven omicron cases - four in the southern manufacturing center of Guangzhou, two in the southern city of Changsha and one in the northern port of Tianjin, reports Nikkei.

Further, China has also been dealing with a substantial outbreak in several cities in the eastern province of Zhejiang near Shanghai, although isolation measures there have been more narrowly targeted.

The restrictions imposed in Xi'an, the city famous for its imperial relics as well as a major center of industry, are some of the harshest since China in 2020 imposed a strict lockdown on more than 11 million people in and around the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019.

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