Biggest Lockdown in China since Covid-19 first broke out in Wuhan | Trendsfirst

The rising number of COVID-19 cases highlights the issue China faces at a time when people are traveling more for the holidays and preparing for the Winter Olympics.
China shut down the western city of Xi'an on Thursday to combat a persistent Covid outbreak, the country's greatest such measure since the pandemic began in Wuhan over two years ago, showing how the country's zero-tolerance strategy has prevented it from progressing since the virus arose.
The 13 million citizens of Xi'an were advised to stay at home and designate one person to go out every other day for essentials, resulting in food conflicts. Outside of the city, non-essential travel was prohibited. The announcement came after a second round of mass testing revealed 127 Covid cases spread across 14 districts, making virus control "grave and complicated," according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

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The rising number of instances highlights the difficulty China has at a time when people are travelling more during the holidays and preparing for the winter Olympic Games in February, which will see an influx of athletes and their entourages. The delta form, which spread throughout most of the planet in the summer and fall, is responsible for the great majority of infections. The country is bracing for the more contagious omicron strain, which has been shown to escape vaccination and past infection-induced immunity.

According to the article, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan called for "rapid" action to stop the spread of illnesses. According to Xinhua, Sun, who is a member of China's Politburo and one of the country's most senior leaders, highlighted the significance of tightening controls on people's movement to prevent massive crowds in crucial regions.

Prolonged Conflict

The Xi'an shutdown is the latest step in China's efforts to eradicate the local transmission of the delta form, as it becomes the world's only country still committed to eradicating the virus and reducing instances to zero. To prevent the infections in Xi'an from spreading to other parts of the country, the city cancelled all domestic flights on Thursday, according to local media.

Using mass testing, active contact tracing, and targeted lockdowns, officials have been able to put an end to outbreaks in less than a month during the pandemic.

However, as new strains of the virus become more infectious, more disruptive measures have been required to contain outbreaks, placing strain on the world's second largest economy. There have been no new local instances of Covid in China for more than two months.

While local governments have employed targeted lockdowns in the past to suppress breakouts in smaller Chinese cities, no big cities have been subjected to widespread restrictions since Wuhan in early 2020. Its population is comparable to that of Xi'an.

Officials in Beijing recognised on Thursday that Covid infections will certainly occur during the winter Olympic Games, which will begin in early February. They recommended everyone to get booster doses to better protect themselves against the virus, particularly those caused by the immune-evading omicron form.

The epidemic in the city, which is known for its terracotta warriors and was the capital of several ancient Chinese dynasties, was traced back to a flight from Pakistan. After sanitising the rooms of travellers who tested positive upon arrival in China, a maid at a quarantined hotel became infected two weeks ago.

The virus swiftly spread among coworkers, and it's possible that it travelled from the airport to neighbouring towns via another line of transmission.

A subtype of the delta strain was responsible for many of the early cases. However, the virus's subsequent propagation hasn't been fully explained, allowing it to spread undetected across the city and promoting the sweeping shutdown. Until Thursday, more than 200 instances had been discovered.

While the number of cases is still low, the fact that they are dispersed throughout the city's 14 districts illustrates how difficult it will be to manage the outbreak. Officials have yet to identify certain transmission chains, so the city is launching the third round of mass testing in the hopes of finding them.

Cases have now been discovered in two more towns in Shaanxi Province, the capital of which is Xi'an. Infections were also reported in Beijing and Dongguan, China's southern manufacturing powerhouse, where two dozen cases linked to the Xi'an outbreak were discovered.

Some people on Chinese social media described the epidemic as the worst the city has ever seen. People battling over food and other essentials in supermarkets as they stock up for the lockdown, according to videos uploaded online.

Entrance Examination

The epidemic occurs only days before a 135,000-person graduate school admission exam is scheduled to take place in the city next weekend. Some people have been ordered to take the exam in other cities or provinces, while those who are infected or have been recognised as close contact will be quarantined until the test is completed.

Meanwhile, four omicron infections have been discovered in Chinese citizens returning from abroad. The significantly more contagious strain has yet to disseminate in the local community. Authorities have pledged to strengthen restrictions at border and port crossings, citing an increased risk of infection from abroad.

Originally Posted on NDTV

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