Health

China local COVID-19 cases up for 4th day as Xian outbreak expands

Xian
reported 175 symptomatic cases for Monday, up from the previous day’s 150. No
Omicron infections have been announced yet from the more than 800 confirmed
cases in Xian since Dec 9.

Case numbers
in Xian are small compared with many clusters in other countries, but Chinese
officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within the city and on leaving it,
in line with national guidelines to immediately contain any COVID-19 outbreak.

Some
residents in Xian were anxious to know when they could next stock up on daily
necessities such as vegetables, as officials had barred people from going out
to shop during a new round of mass testing that started on Monday.

Officials
had said shopping could resume for people in less risky areas once test results
came back negative, but did not say exactly when the suspension would be
lifted. Prior to the restriction, each household had been allowed to send only
one person out to shop for essentials every two days.

“It
feels like a long time,” said a 22-year-old resident surnamed Jin.

“The
fact that I haven’t yet been told when I could shop again makes me a bit
anxious,” Jin, who ran out of fresh greens by Tuesday and couldn’t make
orders online without waiting for nearly a week before delivery, told Reuters.

Since last
week, Xian residents have not been allowed to leave the city without clearance
from their employer or community authorities. Officials have also banned
non-essential vehicles.

Zhang Boli,
who advised the Chinese government in formulating early COVID-19 response and
treatment strategies, told state media earlier this month that Xian may contain
the outbreak by around mid-January.

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Nationwide,
mainland China detected 182 local symptomatic cases for Monday, according to a
statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 162 a day earlier.

That was the
highest daily count since the official daily bulletin started classifying
asymptomatic cases separately at the end of March last year.

China has
disclosed only a handful of Omicron infections, mostly among international
travellers and in the south.

A national
health official said earlier this month that local transmission caused by
imported Omicron infection was found in the southern city of Guangzhou, without
disclosing how many cases were found.

An infecious
disease doctor in the eastern province of Zhejiang said on Tuesday at a
government-organized news briefing that omicron cases arriving from overseas
were detected in the province a week ago, without disclosing the number of
infections.

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