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Anyang 3rd Chinese city to go under lockdown as Covid cases spiral

By K J M Varma
January 11, 2022 18:21 IST
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As Covid-19 cases spiralled in China ahead of the next month's Beijing Winter Olympics, authorities effectively put Anyang under lockdown, the third city after Xian and Tianjin, confining over 20 million people to their homes to arrest the spread of the contagion.

IMAGE: A security staff stands guard outside the Main Press Centre inside a closed loop area designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, January 11, 2022. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters.

Anyang, a city of 5.5 million population in the country's central Henan province, has upgraded its epidemic control measures.

It is the third city to go under the lockdown after the tourist centre Xian and Tianjin port city, where a cluster of Omicron cases was detected in the last few days, denting China's zero coronavirus case policy.

 

As many as 84 coronavirus infections, all locally-transmitted, have been confirmed in Anyang since the first case was reported on Saturday, official media reported on Tuesday.

The Anyang city authority said that between midnight Monday to early Tuesday, there were 58 newly confirmed local Covid-19 infections.

The municipal government of Anyang issued orders on Monday to ban all vehicles from roads and required all residents to stay put while an epidemiological investigation was underway.

The increase in cases is taking place ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics which will be held from February 4 to 20.

There is a sense of disquiet among the officials as the spurt of cases in different places sprouting up, notwithstanding the stringent coronavirus control measures.

Meanwhile, the country's National Health Commission on Tuesday said that the Chinese mainland reported nearly 200 cases in different places, including 110 locally-transmitted ones.

Of the new local cases, 87 reported in Henan, 13 in Shaanxi and 10 in Tianjin, the commission said, adding that 82 new imported cases were reported in 11 provincial-level regions.

In all, 3,458 people are undergoing treatment of which 21 were in severe condition, it said.

No new suspected case or deaths from COVID-19 were reported, it said.

China has so far reported 4,636 deaths due to the coronavirus ever since it first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

The first cases of Anyang city are believed to be linked to the same transmission chain as the existing local cases in north China's Tianjin Municipality, which are confirmed to be caused by the Omicron variant, the city government said.

Currently, all supermarkets in the city have closed their business other than selling daily necessities. Shops have been closed and take-out services have also been suspended.

Two people were infected with Omicron in central China's Henan, state-run Xinhua news agency added. 

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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