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China: Increase in COVID-19 cases, Xian has put strict restrictions on 13 million residents

The Chinese city of Xian has implemented strict restrictions on outbound travel and movement within the city

China: Increase in COVID-19 cases, Xian has put strict restrictions on 13 million residents
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As a new COVID-19 outbreak sees community cases rise, the Chinese city of Xian has implemented strict restrictions on outbound travel and movement within the city, placing its 13 million citizens on lockdown.

Since December 17, the daily count of domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections with verified symptoms in Xian has risen for six days in a row.

This puts the overall number of local cases to around 200 between December 9 and 22, which is lower than many other outbreaks outside of China. In Xian, no infection caused by the Omicron variant has been discovered.

Xian has made it impossible for citizens to leave, in line with Beijing's position that no flare-up should be permitted to spread.

Those planning to go outside of the city must first test negative for COVID-19 and obtain clearance from their employers or local authorities.

Long-distance bus services have been suspended, taxis and cars booked through ride-hailing platforms have been barred for out-of-town travels, and police have been stationed at highway exits to deter individuals planning to leave.

Some highway portions in Xian were nearly vacant, according to livestreaming video provided by local traffic police via social media.

Beginning on Thursday, just one person from each Xian household will be allowed to go out for necessary shopping every two days, while the rest of the family will be required to stay at home unless they have vital jobs.

According to statistics provided by Variflight, all domestic flights to and from Xian scheduled for Thursday have been cancelled. Online travel booking applications suggest that outbound flights from Xian are still available for Friday.

At least two rounds of mass testing have taken place in the city.

People who had recently visited Xian were required to be confined for up to 14 days in a few other neighbouring regions, including Sichuan province and Chongqing city.

According to a statement released by the National Health Commission on Wednesday, mainland China confirmed a total of 71 local symptomatic cases, including 63 in Xian.

There were no additional deaths, bringing the total number of people killed in the country to 4,636.

As of Dec. 22, mainland China reported a total of 100,644 confirmed cases, including both local and overseas cases.

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