Updated on: Thursday, December 23, 2021, 02:06 PM IST

Omicron scare: China locks down Xi'an amid COVID-19 surge, biggest crack down since Wuhan


Beijing: China on Thursday shut down Xi'an, the capital city of the country's Shaanxi province in a bid to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak amid the growing global threat of Omicron variant across the world, local media reported.

Zhang Fenghu, a deputy director of the leading group on epidemic prevention and control in Xi'an, said the city is facing a complicated and severe situation as positive cases were found outside the lockdown areas during the citywide nucleic acid testing conducted on Monday and Tuesday, Global Times reported.

"In order to contain the spread of the epidemic, all the communities and villages in the city will be locked down and start quarantine from Thursday. Only one family member of each household is allowed to go shopping every other day and the rest can only go out with certificates offered by their companies or communities," Global Times reported.

The Chinese media outlet further said that a total of 3,574 schools in Xi'an have suspended in-person instruction as on Wednesday with 2.09 million students and faculty turning to online education.

The city, with a population of 13 million, also strengthened traffic control and banned local residents from leaving the city unless necessary. Long-distance passenger transportation has been suspended and taxis and online car-hailing services are not allowed to operate in medium-and high-risk areas or operate outside the city, it added.

Apart from the need for epidemic prevention and necessities for livelihood, all kinds of activities and gatherings have been suspended. Companies and social organizations are encouraged to work flexibly or work from home to decrease personnel flow.

At present, there is one high-risk area and 40 medium-risk areas in Xi'an, with personnel in these areas strictly controlled, Global Times reported.

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Published on: Thursday, December 23, 2021, 02:06 PM IST