A third Chinese city has been placed under strict control as the country tries to contain localized epidemics of Covid-19, local authorities said on Tuesday.
That brings the total number of people now confined to their homes in China to around 20 million, with the Beijing Winter Olympics just over three weeks away.
The 5.5 million residents of Anyang City, central Henan Province, are not allowed to leave their homes, while shops, restaurants and factories remain closed, the city government said. ‘Anyang.
More than 4,000 students and staff at a school in Anyang have been placed in government-run quarantine centers after nine people tested positive for the virus, local authorities added.
The city has reported a total of 84 cases of Covid-19 since it detected two local infections in Omicron on January 8.
China reported 110 new local symptomatic cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement. China counts asymptomatic cases separately.
Strict locks: Anyang is the third Chinese city after Xi’an in the northwestern province of Shaanxi and Yuzhou, also in Henan, to implement a full Covid lockdown.
Restrictions were imposed on Xi’an’s 13 million residents on December 23. In the days and weeks that followed, complaints of food shortages and reports of patients deprived of medical care shocked the nation.
On January 2, Yuzhou, home to 1.2 million people, was taken into custody after reporting three asymptomatic cases.
Yuzhou recorded 74 symptomatic local cases on Monday, the country’s largest current outbreak, according to the NHC.
Meanwhile, 29 residential communities in Tianjin City are under lockdown after Omicron was detected in at least two residents on Saturday – the first reported community spread in China of the highly transmissible variant.
Tianjin reported 21 infections on Monday – 11 symptomatic and 10 asymptomatic – bringing its current outbreak total to 53.
The city of 14 million people is located just 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Beijing, where the Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4.
Zero-Covid Strategy: China is one of the only places in the world still aiming to eliminate Covid-19 within its borders.
But the frustrations of locked-in residents underscore the growing challenge facing its zero-Covid policy, which relies on a manual of mass testing, extended quarantines and instant lockdowns to eradicate any resurgence of the virus.