Authorities believe the cluster was connected to an incoming flight from Pakistan on December 4, where at least six passengers were found to have a delta variant. So far, no cases of Omicron variant have been reported in Xi’an.
Officers moved quickly, suspending schools and conducting mass raids throughout the city. However the cases continue to increase. Since December 9, a total of 206 cases have been registered in the city. On Wednesday, authorities recorded 63 new cases spreading locally, the highest daily number in Xian this month.
Xi’an is now designated a “restricted area” and is China’s second highest lockdown type – meaning residents are barred from leaving their homes except in emergencies such as medical emergencies. Each family is only allowed to send a designated person out of the house to buy groceries once every two days.
In addition to essential service providers such as hospitals and supermarkets, schools, public facilities and transportation systems have been closed, according to local government announcements.
Xi’an is one level away from the lofty lockdown category of “sealed area” in which residents are strictly prohibited from leaving their homes and groceries are distributed on their doorstep.
This is the fourth time a major Chinese city has been placed under “restricted area” locking. Although previous outbreaks have seen similar restrictions, they are generally applied only to specific areas where infections are high – not the entire city.
The appearance of another eruption has raised questions about the long-term credibility of China’s ambitious “Zero-Govt” policy, which aims to eliminate the virus completely within the country’s borders.
Despite managing more than 2.7 billion doses of its domestic vaccine, authorities have struggled with several fast-spreading outbreaks.
In the past week alone, cases have been reported in Henan Province, Zhejiang Province, Guangdong Province, Guangxi Autonomous Region and Beijing and Tianjin.