Major Chinese City Shuts Down to Fight Covid Outbreak

Students line up for COVID-19 nucleic acid testing at Xi’an Jiaotong University on December 17, 2021 in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China.

Hua Shan Daily | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – A major city in central China that reported an outbreak of Covid-19 cases on Thursday, with local authorities using a language similar to that used at the height of the country’s pandemic.

Authorities said the outbreak in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people, was linked to the delta. Mainland China has reported only a few cases of Omicron disease so far, while the rapidly spreading strain has become the dominant variant in the United States.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Xi’an city is much lower than what other cities overseas are reporting. But the city also reported an unspecified number of cases of haemorrhagic fever, a disease with high mortality transmitted by rodents. Local authorities noted the disease manifests itself seasonally, usually from October to January and from April to June.

Xi’an municipal officials on Wednesday told residents not to leave the city unnecessarily, and ordered that apartment buildings and workplaces require passes to leave and enter from Thursday.

Authorities said each household can only send one person every two days to buy groceries and other essentials, echoing some of the stricter rules announced in different parts of the country in early 2020.

Xi’an City ordered businesses such as movie theaters and educational institutions to shut down and banned dining in restaurants. The authorities banned large-scale events, and schools routinely closed or moved classes online.

The city reported 143 confirmed cases of local transmission between December 9 and the end of Tuesday. Authorities said late Wednesday that a second round of citywide testing had identified 127 positive cases. It was not immediately clear if there was a coincidence in the numbers.

Xi’an accounts for just under 1% of China’s GDP, according to official figures obtained through Wind Information. Electronics giant Samsung and American chip maker Micron have major manufacturing facilities in the city, which is home to many semiconductor research or manufacturing centers, aerospace and other high-tech industries.

The city also attracts many tourists with its Terracotta Warriors, an army of clay sculptures from ancient times. Xi’an, located in central China, more than 800 miles from the metropolis of Shanghai’s east coast, is one of the last major urban areas before the poorer regions of the west.

The local spread of coronavirus cases means there was one high-risk area and 40 medium-risk areas in Xi’an as of Wednesday. These risk designations affect the type of viral control measures used, especially for determining whether a traveler is allowed to enter another city.

Hangzhou Covid Risk Decreases

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