China: Lockdowns Expand as Coronavirus Cases Rise

Hundreds of thousands more people today were invited to stay in their homes in northern China, as well as millions more in other parts of the country.

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Hundreds of thousands more people have been evacuated from their homes in northern China today, as well as millions more in other parts of the country, as authorities have cracked down on trying to curb the rise in coronavirus outbreaks. of the last 21 months.

China, where the virus first appeared two years ago, has pursued a "zero-case" strategy with severe border restrictions, prolonged quarantine and targeted lockdowns as Beijing prepares to receive thousands of foreign visitors to the Olympics. February.

Authorities, however, have been facing an outbreak in recent weeks and today recorded 209 cases of coronavirus - the highest daily number since March last year - when the pandemic centered on the central city of Wuhan.

The increase in cases, while smaller than in other European countries and the United States, has led authorities to impose "stricter" possible restrictions, as they call themselves, on the northern city of Xi'an, which has a population of 13 million. on the sixth day of quarantine.

Neighboring cities have also seen an increase in cases with Janan, about 300km from Xi'an, closing businesses today and forcing hundreds of thousands of people in an area to stay at home.

Lockdown in Xi'an is the strictest in China since a similar quarantine was imposed in Wuhan, which has about the same population.

There are more than 4.400 diagnostic centers in the city and more than 100.000 people have been recruited for the tests, according to the state-run CCTV network.

Visual material shows masked citizens queuing to undergo diagnostic tests on the streets and in sports centers.

"There is no food"

But as driving has been banned and only one member of each household is allowed to go out for groceries every three days, many Xi'an residents have taken to social media to ask for help getting food and other necessities.

"I will starve," wrote one Weibo user.

"There is no food, in the band I live in they do not let me go out and I am going to run out of noodles; help me please!"

"I do not want to hear again about how well everything is going. "Then if there is plenty of supplies, they are useless if you do not distribute them to the citizens," wrote another.

Authorities insist supplies remain stable as they maintain tight controls on travel to and from Xi'an.

According to CCTV, students are not allowed to leave the dormitories unless necessary.