Xian, a Chinese city almost two weeks into a lockdown, is demanding officials “strictly and properly” implement Covid-19 curbs, as new local cases among its 13mn residents have started to grow at a slower pace.
Xian, which on Dec 23 imposed strict curbs on travel within the city and leaving town, reported 95 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed clinical symptoms for Monday, up slightly from 90 a day earlier, official data showed yesterday.
Monday also marked the second consecutive day for which Xian reported less than 100 local cases since Dec. 24. “The various work that needs to be done must only be strengthened,” said Liu Guozhong, provincial head of the Communist Party in Shaanxi, of which Xian is its capital. The epidemic control effort is at a pivotal moment, Liu said.
The latest infections brings the tally of local cases to over 1,700 since Dec 9 in Xian’s latest outbreak. “We’d rather widen our identification of groups at risk than to overlook a single person,” Liu was quoted as saying in an article published by the Xian government on Tuesday. No one should be overlooked during mass testing in key Xian areas and “household doors” should be closely watched in rural parts of the city to make sure people are complying with travel curbs, Liu said.
Many people have been banned from leaving their residential compounds unless for urgent matters approved by their community-based authority. All residents need to have proof of a negative test result checked by community staffers before they can seek medical services at hospitals. The restrictions have also curtailed access to daily necessities, with many people unable to go out to shop, leaving them dependent on deliveries.
Xian has said curbs can be loosened when the time is proper to gradually resume normality within certain compounds when their virus risk becomes lower. Xian’s case count is tiny compared to many outbreaks elsewhere in the world. But Beijing is keen to keep a lid on outbreaks ahead of the Winter Olympics in February, and the Communist Party’s once-every-five-years congress expected later in the year.
Xian is stepping up efforts to achieve “zero cases in communities”, a situation where all new infections are found among people already in quarantine, state television quoted Chen Zhijun, an official at Xian’s disease control authority, as saying. That will create good conditions for the city’s next downgrade in virus curbs, Chen said. In areas where infections are concentrated, people who have been in contact with the close contacts of cases should be moved to centralised facilities for quarantine, Xian said on Sunday, citing an unidentified virus control expert.
The city will rectify “weaknesses in the services” for people at certain quarantined facilities, a city official told reporters in a press conference on Monday.
Meanwhile, a Chinese city has locked down its 1.1mn residents after reports of new coronavirus cases as officials rushed to contain even small outbreaks just over four weeks before the Winter Olympics begin.
The curbs in the city of Yuzhou, in the central province of Henan, are similar to those imposed for nearly two weeks in the industrial hub of Xian, which has become China’s latest Covid-19 epicentre.
Yuzhou, 700km southwest of Beijing, has ordered all residents to remain indoors and not to leave town, the local Communist Party said in a statement late Monday. “So far, the source of the virus is unknown, the number of cases is unclear ... the virus control and prevention situation in our city is very severe,” authorities in Xuchang city, which has jurisdiction over Yuzhou, said in a statement yesterday. “To curb and quash the epidemic within the shortest amount of time is a high-priority political task facing all officials and people in the city,” they said.
The greater Xuchang area reported two locally transmitted infections with confirmed clinical symptoms, and 18 local asymptomatic carriers for Monday, official data showed. It was not clear how many were in Yuzhou. Vehicles were banned from Yuzhou’s roads unless they have clearance from virus control authorities, and authorities ordered a halt to activity in supermarkets apart from the supply of daily necessities. Yuzhou’s case count is tiny compared with outbreaks in many other places around the world. But China is keen to keep outbreaks under control ahead of the Feb 4-20 Winter Olympics, being held in Beijing and the nearby province of Hebei, and the Communist Party’s once-every-five-years congress expected later in the year.
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