China | The city of Xi’an has been shut down to avoid the “outbreak” of COVID-19

(Beijing) Restaurants, bars, places of worship and even karaoke will be closed for a week in the major Chinese city of Xi’an (north) after around twenty cases of COVID-19, authorities said on Tuesday.

Posted at 9:28
Updated at 9:43am

The historical and touristic city of 13 million people, former imperial capital, is known worldwide for its buried terracotta army of the first emperor of China.

China is one of the latest countries to implement a “zero COVID-19” strategy in the face of the epidemic. It consists of massive screenings, mandatory quarantines in case of a positive PCR test and targeted restrictions.

The government considers this health policy to be necessary in order to conserve the sometimes limited medical resources and to preserve the elderly, whose vaccination coverage is relatively low.

The city of Xi’an has reported 18 positive cases related to Omicron since Saturday, according to local authorities.

A senior community official, Zhang Xuedong, told the press on Tuesday that he would request seven days of “control measures” to avoid “the flow of people” and consequent infections.

“We are in a race against time against the virus” and it is necessary “to avoid the spread and outbreak of cases,” he stressed.

Entertainment establishments such as bars, cyber cafes, bathing establishments and even karaoke will close their doors from midnight on Wednesday, City Hall said in a press release.

Catering establishments can no longer receive customers for a week, but can continue to deliver and offer a take-away service.

Elementary schools and kindergartens are closed, as are places of worship.

Xi’an was under lockdown for a month between December 2021 and January 2022 due to an outbreak.

The authorities had been criticized for their handling of the detention, which was marked by problems with food supplies and drama surrounding certain patients being denied access to hospitals.

“That’s it, here we go again,” a user on the Weibo social network reacted on Tuesday after the announcement of the new measures, matching the general tone of the comments.

Testing in Shanghai

The Ministry of Health reported 335 new positive cases nationwide on Tuesday.

The hardest-hit area is eastern Anhui Province, where 1.7 million people are currently confined in two rural townships.

In Shanghai, authorities have launched a new round of mandatory PCR testing in most districts, a measure justified by “the many local positive cases registered since Sunday.”

A large part of the metropolis with 25 million inhabitants, the country’s economic metropolis, is screened twice between Tuesday and Thursday.

Despite the lifting of a severe prison sentence of more than two months in Shanghai in early June, certain counties are sometimes placed under lockdown after sporadic cases are discovered.

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