China locks down whole cities over tiny COVID outbreaks to stop unfold forward of Beijing Olympics

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Beijing — The metropolis of Zhengzhou ordered its practically 13 million residents to take COVID-19 exams Wednesday after a handful of circumstances have been detected, as China fights to stamp out virus clusters forward of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Everyone in Zhengzhou, which has been positioned underneath a partial lockdown, should be examined to “thoroughly uncover infections hidden among the public,” town’s authorities mentioned in an announcement Wednesday.

The metropolis has detected 11 circumstances in latest days.

The mass-testing order got here as case numbers within the locked-down metropolis of Xi’an fell to their lowest in weeks, with officers saying that outbreak had been “brought under control.”

Xi’an’s 13 million residents have been underneath stay-at-home orders for the final two weeks.

Medical workers collect swabs from residents during a citywide nucleic acid testing in Zhengzhou
Medical employees in protecting fits acquire swabs from residents throughout a citywide nucleic acid testing program after lower than a dozen circumstances of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) have been detected in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, January 5, 2022.

cnsphoto by way of REUTERS


“Although the case number has been high for many days, the rapid rise in COVID spread at community level has been brought under control compared with the early stages of the outbreak,” mentioned Ma Guanghui, deputy director of Shaanxi province’s well being fee, at a press convention. “The epidemic is showing a downward trend.”

China has caught to a inflexible strategy of stamping out COVID circumstances once they seem, with tight border restrictions and focused lockdowns for the reason that virus first emerged within the nation in 2019.

But, with lower than a month to go till the Winter Olympics within the capital, a collection of small outbreaks throughout the nation has put the technique underneath strain.


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Although the variety of reported circumstances in China could be very low in contrast with different nations, infections in latest weeks have reached a excessive not seen within the nation since March 2020.

China recorded 91 circumstances Wednesday — together with 35 in Xi’an, town’s lowest tally since mid-December.

The Zhengzhou outbreak is tiny by comparability, however officers are taking no possibilities. State media mentioned about 500 shut contacts had been traced from the outbreak’s two symptomatic circumstances, linked by way of mahjong rooms and household gatherings.

Eight residential communities have been locked down.

On Monday, a million individuals in Yuzhou metropolis — in the identical province as Zhengzhou — have been put underneath stay-at-home orders after simply three asymptomatic circumstances have been confirmed there.

Local authorities deemed to have failed in stopping virus outbreaks have been sacked or punished, together with two senior Communist Party officers in Xi’an that have been dismissed over their “insufficient rigor in preventing and controlling the outbreak.”

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Security guards stroll in an space that’s underneath restrictions following a latest coronavirus outbreak in Xi’an, in China’s northern Shaanxi province, December 22, 2021.

STR/AFP/Getty


Dozens of officers have been punished for his or her dealing with of Xi’an’s outbreak, together with the official in command of town’s well being monitoring system, who was suspended.

Beijing will host the Winter Olympics from February 4, underneath among the strictest guidelines for a mass sporting occasion for the reason that pandemic began.

All athletes, officers, employees and volunteers can be inside a “closed loop” system that separates them from the general public in the course of the Games, together with journey to and from Beijing’s worldwide airport.

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