China Imposes Covid Lockdown In Xi’an After Handful Of Cases

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After 18 Omicron cases were reported, the 13 million-person north-central city was shut down using the Zero-Covid policy as reported by The Guardian. 

Highly transmissible

A highly transmissible Omicron subvariant, which is already dominant in Britain and the US, has sent parts of the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an, home to 13 million, into a seven-day lockdown.

Businesses, schools and restaurants in Xi’an will close for one week, officials said on Tuesday, after the Chinese city logged a handful of Covid-19 cases.

The capital city of Shaanxi province has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to official notices.

Some residents in the “high-risk areas” were told to stay at home.

“The Omicron BA.5 subvariant is even more transmissible and spreads more quickly than the previous BA2.2 sublineage, and it is more likely to escape antibodies,” Zhang told the Chinese media on Tuesday.

New discovery 

The discovery of BA.5 adds new complications to China’s stringent zero-Covid policy, experts say.

The subvariant of Omicron is more transmissible than BA.2.2, which was behind recent outbreaks in Shanghai and Beijing China is the last major economy wedded to a zero-Covid strategy, deploying snap lockdowns, quarantines and travel curbs in a bid to weed out new infections.

City official Zhang Xuedong said at a press conference that Xi’an would implement “seven-day temporary control measures” that would “allow society to quieten down as much as possible, reduce mobility … and cut the risk of cross-infection”.

Public entertainment venues including pubs, internet cafes and karaoke bars will shut their doors from midnight on Wednesday, the city government said in a notice.

Restaurants will not be allowed to serve diners indoors but may continue to offer takeaway services, it said.

Schools closed 

Schools are to start the summer holiday early and universities will seal off their campuses.

Some residents expressed dismay at the closures on social media.

“It’s like they’re addicted to lockdowns.”

wrote one on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

In Shanghai, the city officials announced on Tuesday two new rounds of mass Covid testing of most of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing the need to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke lounge.

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Source: The Guardian

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