China orders city's 13,000,000 population to stay at home after 52 Covid casesDecember 22, 2021
Strict new stay-at-home rules are being enforced in the Chinese city of Xi’an, with people only allowed out every two days for food.
From midnight on Thursday, all households may only ‘send one household member outside once every two days to purchase necessities,’ with all others ordered to remain indoors except for emergencies, Xi’an’s city government has announced.
It means a total of 13 million people have been placed in one of the world’s strictest lockdowns after just 52 cases of Covid were confirmed on Wednesday.
As countries across Europe and America battle outbreaks of tens – sometimes hundreds of thousands – of cases, China is still pursuing a zero Covid strategy.
With Beijing preparing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in February, the country is on high alert as it fights local outbreaks in several cities.
Xi’an has reported a total of 143 Covid cases since December 9.
Residents ‘should not leave the city unless necessary,’ the government said, adding that those seeking to leave would have to provide evidence of ‘special circumstances’ and apply for approval.
The stay at home order came a day after the city in northern China began testing all of its residents.
Long-distance bus stations were closed and authorities have set up disease control checkpoints on highways out of the city.
More than 85% of flights to and from the Xi’an’s main airport have been grounded, according to flight tracker VariFlight.
Inside the city, schools have been closed alongside all ‘non-essential businesses’ which includes pretty much everything aside from supermarkets and pharmacies.
The local government has urged employers to allow people to work from home and large-scale meetings including activities in outdoor parks have been suspended.
A museum which houses the world-famous Terracotta Army – the 2,000-year-old mausoleum of China’s first emperor – has shut until further notice.
China – where the coronavirus was first detected – has successfully reduced its caseload to little more than a trickle in the last two years.
It has clamped down strongly on any signs of an outbreak, enforcing tight border restrictions, targeted lockdowns and lengthy quarantines where required.
Even a single case can lead to a swift imposition of restrictions.
The southern city of Dongxing on Tuesday ordered its 200,000 residents to isolate at home after an infection was detected.
Thousands of international athletes will arrive for the Olympics in just over a month, with the capital Beijing demanding negative Covid tests from visitors and limiting flights from other cities.
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