Chinese city of Xi’an lifts lockdown after a month

Beijing, Jan 24 (EFE).- Chinese authorities Monday lifted restrictions imposed on the city of Xi’an, with 13 million inhabitants, which has been completely confined for a month due to a Covid-19 resurgence.

Officials said the city becomes a “low risk” area as of Monday, with which residents can move freely again as long as they present a valid health tracking QR code.

“Low risk does not mean risk-free. The city will continue to strictly implement the epidemic prevention and control measures in force,” official Liu Feng said, according to state agency Xinhua.

As of Sunday, Xi’an has accumulated a total of 2,053 community-transmitted Covid-19 cases since the first positives were found in early December.

On Dec. 22, authorities confined the city, capital of the central province of Shaanxi, to curb the curve of cases.

The one in Xi’an is the most extensive quarantine in China after the one in Wuhan in January 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic.

The chaotic management of the confinement in Xi’an, especially during the first days, provoked criticism from some residents through social networks, either due to the lack of supplies or confusion about the mobile phone application that tracks the disease’s spread.

Also causing shock was the case of an eight-month pregnant woman who lost her baby after being denied entry to a hospital for not presenting an updated test, or that of a person beaten for violating the confinement to go buy food.

These “moments of chaos,” as defined by local press, led to the dismissal of several officials accused of acting negligently.

China maintains its policy of zero tolerance against Covid-19, with restrictions on mobility and confinements to stop the active outbreaks in the country two weeks before the Winter Games begin in Beijing.

In addition, the country will celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year on Feb. 1, and local governments are already asking that people not travel if it is not “strictly necessary” to avoid the massive travel plans typical of these dates.

The Chinese National Health Commission confirmed Monday the detection of 57 new positives for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus Sunday, 18 of them due to local contagion – six of them in Beijing.

The total number of active infections in mainland China amounts to 2,754, 11 in serious condition. According to the institution’s accounts, since the start of the pandemic, 105,660 people have been infected in the country and 4,636 have died. EFE


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