Friday, January 21, 2022

Curfew for five million citizens – Another mega-metropolis in China is going into strict lockdown

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The Chinese government continues to pursue a zero Covid strategy and takes tough action in the event of infections. Now a city in the Henan region is also being strategically cordoned off – with blatant consequences for the residents.

The Chinese authorities have imposed a lockdown for another metropolis after new corona infection cases. The five million residents of Anyang in east China’s Henan Province are no longer allowed to leave their homes, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the authorities’ orders from Monday evening. All non-essential businesses were closed, and mass tests of the population began.

The new cases of infection, some of which can be traced back to the highly contagious Omikron variant, put the Chinese authorities on heightened alert a few weeks before the start of the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. China has a strict zero-covid strategy. Although the number of infections is low compared to other countries, the authorities are taking rigorous action against new outbreaks.

At least three cities in Henan Province are currently battling new virus outbreaks. The 13 million inhabitants of the provincial capital Zhengzhou could soon face a lockdown. Schools and kindergartens have already been closed there, alongside non-essential shops. Restaurants are only allowed to offer take-away food. Local public transport has been suspended, and taxis are currently not allowed to drive.

The one million residents of Yuzhou City were ordered to stay at home last week. The 13 million inhabitants of the central Chinese city of Xi’an in Henan’s neighboring province of Shaanxi have been locked down for three weeks.

According to a report by the broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday, 58 new infections were recorded in Anyang. Overall, the number of infections has risen to 84 since Saturday. The authorities attribute some of the cases to a source of infection in the city of Tianjin, around 400 kilometers away. In Tianjin, not far from Beijing, for which strict corona rules had already been imposed on Monday, ten new infections were reported after mass tests.

The Chinese special administrative region Hong Kong is also struggling with an outbreak of the highly contagious Omikron variant. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Carrie Lam announced the closure of all kindergartens and elementary schools until the Chinese New Year celebrations in early February. Bars and fitness studios will also remain closed.

Japan meanwhile extended its strict entry restrictions due to the corona pandemic until the end of the month. This means that almost no aircraft from abroad are allowed to land in the island nation. In addition, the Japanese authorities announced a reopening of large corona vaccination centers in view of the increasing number of cases as a result of the omicron spread.

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