A third Chinese city has been subjected to a strict closure as the country tries to contain localized outbreaks of Covid-19, local authorities reported Tuesday.
This brings the total number of people confined to their homes in China to about 20 million, with just over three weeks to go until the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The 5.5 million residents of Anyang city in central Henan province are unable to leave their homes, while shops, restaurants and factories remain closed, the Anyang municipal government said.
More than 4,000 students and staff from an Anyang school were admitted to government-run quarantine centers after nine people tested positive for the virus, local authorities added.
The city reported a total of 84 COVID-19 cases since it detected two local infections of the omicron variant on January 8.
This Tuesday, China reported 110 new symptomatic local cases of covid-19, according to the National Health Commission (CNS) in a statement. China counts asymptomatic cases separately.
Strict closures: Anyang is the third Chinese city, after Xi’an, in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, and Yuzhou, also in Henan, to apply a total blockade by covid.
On December 23, restrictions were imposed on the 13 million residents of Xi’an. In the days and weeks since, complaints about food shortages and reports of patients being denied medical care have shocked the nation.
On January 2, Yuzhou, home to 1.2 million people, was blocked after three asymptomatic cases were recorded.
Yuzhou on Monday recorded 74 local symptomatic cases, the country’s largest current outbreak, according to the NHC.
On the other hand, 29 residential communities in the city of Tianjin are in a closure regime after the presence of omicron was detected on Saturday in at least two residents, which is the first community spread of this highly communicable variant in China.
Tianjin reported 21 infections – 11 symptomatic and 10 asymptomatic – on Monday, bringing the total of its current outbreak to 53.
This city of 14 million people is located just 130 kilometers southeast of Beijing, where the Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4.
The “zero-covid” strategy: China is one of the only places in the world that still aims to eliminate covid-19 within its borders.
However, the frustrations of locked-in residents highlight the growing challenge posed by its “Zero-covid” policy, which relies on a playbook of massive testing, extensive quarantines, and sudden shutdowns to end any resurgence of the virus. .