China has placed a city of 4 million people on lockdown in a bid to eradicate a domestic coronavirus outbreak, with residents urged not to leave their homes except in an emergency.
Beijing imposed strict border controls in the weeks following the first detection of Covid-19 in China in late 2019, slowing the number of cases to a trickle and allowing the economy to rebound.
As the rest of the world opens up and tries to find ways to live with the virus, China has maintained a zero Covid approach that has included severe local lockdowns imposed on just a handful of cases.
Tuesday’s restrictions came as China reported 29 new domestic infections – including six cases in Lanzhou, the provincial capital of northwestern Gansu Province.
Residents of Lanzhou would be required to stay at home, authorities said in a statement. Officials said “the entry and exit of residents” would be strictly controlled and limited to essential supplies or medical treatment.
Bus and taxi services had already been suspended in the city, and state media said on Tuesday that Lanzhou Station had suspended more than 70 trains, including key routes to major cities such as Beijing and Xi. ‘year.
Flights to Lanzhou have also been canceled, a representative of Southern Airlines told AFP that all of its flights from Beijing Daxing Airport to Lanzhou have been canceled due to public security measures, with no resumption date.
The latest outbreak in China has been linked to the Delta variant, with the latest outbreak tally reaching 198 cases since October 17.
Health officials have warned that more infections could arise as testing intensifies in the coming days to combat the outbreak, which has been linked to a group of domestic tourists who traveled from Shanghai to several other provinces.
Strict stay-at-home orders have already been imposed on tens of thousands of people in northern China.
In Beijing – which reported three new cases on Tuesday – access to tourist sites has been limited and residents have been advised not to leave the city unless necessary.
About 23,000 residents of a Changping District residential complex have been ordered to stay indoors after nine cases were discovered there in recent days, Beijing News reported.
Community mahjong and chess rooms were closed and residents were urged to reduce large gatherings where possible. The organizers indefinitely postponed Sunday a marathon in which 30,000 runners were expected.
Mass tests are underway in 11 provinces and authorities have suspended numerous groups of interprovincial tourists.
While the number of cases in the country is extremely low compared to elsewhere in the world, authorities are determined to eradicate the latest outbreak with the Beijing Winter Olympics in just over 100 days.
Those who have failed to control the Covid are often dismissed from their posts or punished. On Tuesday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that party secretary Ejin Banner in the northern region of Inner Mongolia was fired “due to poor performance and poor implementation of prevention and control. epidemic control ”.
Six other officials were punished for their “soft response” to the latest outbreak, state media reported, and a deputy director of the local police bureau was removed from his post.
Beijing police have opened three criminal investigations into suspected Covid security breaches, the deputy director of the city’s public security bureau said on Sunday.