The 13 million inhabitants of a city in northern China began home containment on Thursday, the authorities wanting to contain an epidemic of Covid-19 six weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Known around the world for its army buried in terracotta, Xi’an had already imposed travel restrictions in recent days after the discovery of hundreds of cases.
China has successfully stemmed the epidemic on its soil since mid-2020 thanks to long mandatory quarantines on arrival, targeted lockdowns, massive screenings, mobile travel tracking applications and the drastic limitation of international flights .
As the Winter Olympics approach (February 4-20, 2022), the authorities are doing everything to prevent further contamination in the country. But sporadic outbreaks have occurred regularly in recent weeks.
Xi’an reported 63 new patients on Thursday, a few days after the start of massive screening of all residents. The Delta strain is implicated.
This Xi’an outbreak has resulted in cases in other parts of the country, including one in Beijing (north) and the other in Guangdong province (south), showing how quickly the virus is spreading.
Since midnight Thursday, each household can only send one of its members outside, once every two days, to buy basic necessities, said the town hall.
China has reinforced already very strict measures in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of foreign athletes for the Olympics.
The capital Beijing now requires negative Covid tests for all visitors and limits flights from other cities.
Participants in the Games must have received at least two doses of vaccine and remain in a health “bubble” – that is, an area sealed off from the rest of the population. They will undergo daily coronavirus screenings.
Chinese authorities have urged athletes to be given a booster dose due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant around the world. They warned of the “certain” possibility of infections inside the bubble.