China locks down over 1 million people in Yuzhou after finding 3 asymptomatic Covid-19 cases

According to reports, 678,500 residents have been tested for Covid-19.

Jean Chien Tay | January 04, 2022, 05:41 PM

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Yuzhou is the latest city in China to go into lockdown, after detecting just three asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in two days, Chinese state-controlled media Global Times (GT) reported.

The lockdown in the Henan Province city was reportedly announced on Jan. 3, and took effect on that night.

Less than two weeks ago, the city of Xi'an imposed a lockdown on 13 million residents on Dec. 23, after detecting 127 cases.

Xi'an did not enter into lockdown until recording more than 100 cases, and GT said this could have contributed to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the city, which has recorded more than 1,600 cases in the recent wave of infections.

China has continued to pursue a "zero-Covid" strategy, with strict border restrictions, targeted lockdowns, and lengthy quarantine periods.

The country is preparing for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will take place from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20.

Officials are also under pressure as China's busiest travel season -- the Lunar New Year -- is just around the corner, Bloomberg reported.

678,500 individuals have been tested

After detecting the cases, the city of Yuzhou imposed a lockdown of the downtown area and suspended public transport, in-person education, and public gatherings on Jan. 2, The Guardian reported.

Museums, stadiums, tourist attractions, chess and card rooms, internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment and leisure places were ordered to halt operation.

According to an official notice, shopping malls and supermarkets have also ceased operations except for "maintaining supplies for daily necessities".

As of 2pm on Jan. 3, 678,500 individuals have been tested for Covid-19, and 70,000 samples have completed testing, Chinese state media China Central Television (CCTV) reported. Yuzhou has a population of 1.17 million.

Lockdown in Xi'an

According to Bloomberg, Xi'an has recorded more than 100 Covid-19 infections daily for the past 10 days, and shortages of food and medical care have worsened.

All businesses, except supermarkets, convenience stores and medical facilities, were ordered to close, AFP reported.

The authorities first tightened restrictions on Dec. 26, only allowing one member of each household to go out and buy basic necessities once every three days, down from two days under previous regulations.

A day later (Dec. 27), the city further tightened its restrictions, only allowing residents to leave their homes to get tested for Covid-19, the BBC reported.

Since then, there have been posts on social media that said Xi'an residents were lacking food supplies, as the deliveries promised by the government were allegedly delayed.

According to the Financial Times (FT), one resident claimed that they had to "sneak out at night" to buy food.

"Buying food is like being a thief," the resident added.

A video circulating on Twitter showed a man arguing with the police, claiming that his family had "nothing to eat".

In the video, another woman can be heard saying, "We've been locked down for 13 days. Residents' basic life can't go on. We queued for three to four hours (to buy vegetables). But they don't allow it to be sold anymore".

In another incident, a man was allegedly beaten by anti-epidemic workers. Dozens of buns fell from the man's bag amid the scuffle.

FT reported that the two workers had been detained by the police and fined RMB200 (S$42.66) each.

Authorities pledge supplies

The local authorities in Xi'an have pledged to ensure the supply of daily necessities for the city's residents, GT reported.

The authorities also said that supplies of essential goods are adequate, and groceries will be delivered to the city's residents for free from Jan. 4 onwards.

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Top image via AFP/Getty Images & Global Times