China imposes Covid restrictions in Xi’an after Omicron subvariant detected

Beijing, July 6 (EFE).- Week-long restrictions were imposed in the central Chinese city of Xi’an of 13 million inhabitants on Wednesday after detecting Covid-19 infections linked to a highly transmissible subvariant of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

The city officials announced that while nurseries and schools would begin their holidays earlier than expected, restaurants, theaters, gyms, libraries, museums, and other public areas have already shut down.

Between Saturday and Monday, the Zhaohui market had a total of 18 symptomatic Covid-19 cases, according to the city’s health authority.

The infected people had been to several restaurants, supermarkets, and apartment complexes.

According to the state-run newspaper Global Times, genetic sequencing data revealed that the BA.5.2 subvariant was present in every case.

The subvariant is growing more widespread and can evade immune defenses developed from prior infections.

In December last year, Xi’an was put under a strict one-month lockdown.

China follows a strict “zero tolerance” policy toward the coronavirus. But the country has seen a series of outbreaks driven by the Omicron variant in recent months, leading to record infections.

The National Health Commission said there were now 724 active symptomatic illnesses in mainland China, one of which is severe.

Since the epidemic began, China has seen 226,176 infections, of which 220,226 have recovered while 5,226 have died.

Asymptomatic infections are not included in the overall number of cases.

More than 4.2 million infected people’s close connections have undergone medical monitoring, of which 62,254 are still being watched.


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