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China to test 12mn in Zhengzhou as Xian outbreak eases

China to test 12mn in Zhengzhou as Xian outbreak eases

Chinese health authorities on Wednesday imposed a partial lockdown and ordered mass Covid testing for a city of 12 million people in central China, even as the locked-down city of northern city of Xian reported a sharp drop in new infections. Millions of residents of Zhengzhou, the capital city of the Henan province, lined up on Wednesday to be tested for Covid after the city reported 11 domestic infections this week. Everyone in Zhengzhou must be tested to “thoroughly uncover infections hidden among the public”, the city’s government said in a statement. Zhengzhou experienced devastating floods and a Covid-19 outbreak, followed by repeated mass testing, barely six months ago. Yuzhou, a city of 1.1 million residents in the same province, is already under a lockdown with its citizens being tested for the disease. Two counties in Henan, under the jurisdiction of Luoyang city and Zhoukou city, also sealed up a few areas. Although the caseload for the province remains small, China continues to stringently implement its “zero covid” policy, which has now taken on extra urgency with the Winter Olympics and the Chinese New Year holidays barely weeks away. New curbs have been put in places in cities and counties in central China even though the outbreak in Xian, famous for its terracotta warriors tourist site, appears to be coming under control. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday said 35 new domestic cases were reported in Xian, down from 95 the day before. That marked a decline since daily new cases topped 100, prompting officials to implement some of the tightest restrictions on a city since the virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Xian has seen more than 1,600 cases but no deaths in its latest surge. Mainland China had 102,932 confirmed cases as of the end of January 4 with the death toll unchanged at 4,636. Meanwhile, organisers of the Winter Olympics said on Wednesday that a “closed loop” operation to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak among Games participants from leaking into China’s general public has been implemented. The 2022 Games, which begin on February 4, are set to take place as the world grapples with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, although China has reported only a handful of cases of the new variant. Organisers, according to Reuters, said on Wednesday that the “closed loop” bubble, in which participants can only leave if they are exiting the country or undergo quarantine, had been activated as planned on Tuesday, the same day that President Xi Jinping toured several Games facilities. Xi expressed “firm confidence” that Games’ staff “will continue to do a good job in all preparations to ensure the complete success of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics”, state broadcaster CCTV reported on Wednesday..

world-news 2022-01-05 hindustantimes