Xi’an further tightens anti-virus measures

Xi'an tightened curbs on travel within the city on Monday as it started a new round of testing on the fifth day of a lockdown of its 13 million people.

Xi'an reported 150 new local symptomatic coronavirus cases for Sunday, a slight drop from the previous day's 155, and officials warned that people flouting rules on travel or testing could face detention and fines.

Case numbers in Xi'an remain tiny compared with many clusters in other countries but officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within the city and on leaving it, in line with a government drive to immediately contain outbreaks.

Authorities have not announced any infections with the Omicron variant among the 635 confirmed cases in Xi'an from December 9 to Sunday. The mainland has detected only a handful of Omicron infections among international travellers and in the south.

Nationwide, the mainland reported 162 domestic symptomatic cases for Sunday, up from 158 a day earlier. It marks the highest count since the official daily bulletin started to classify asymptomatic carriers separately at the end of March last year.

Since last week, Xi'an residents have not been allowed to leave the city without permission from their employer or authorities.

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From Monday, no vehicles are allowed on the roads unless they are for virus control or for people's livelihoods and violators could face up to 10 days in police detention and 500 yuan fines.

The city told residents on Monday not to leave home unless they are giving samples in a new round of citywide testing. People in less risky areas would be allowed out to buy necessities if the testing is negative, the city government said.

Anyone who refuses to follow the rules during testing, including keeping a metre away from each other in queues, could also face detention and a fine, police said.

Xi'an has also launched a city-wide disinfection campaign, with workers spraying pathogen-killing solutions onto roads and buildings. (Reuters)

Artmotion China

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