China confined the five million residents of the central city of Anyang on Tuesday to contain an outbreak of the contagious omicron variant of coronavirus covid-19, the state press reported. Authorities announced the measure late Monday, when they ordered residents to stay indoors and not drive in private vehicles, state agency Xinhua reported.
LOOK: China confines a city of 5 million people to curb the contagious omicron variant
The cadena CNN reported that more than 4,000 children from Anyang had to be isolated in quarantine centers due to a coronavirus outbreak. Videos circulating on social media show minors in safety suits walking towards buses to be taken to designated isolation sites.
More than 4,000 students in China, including elementary school children, are being sent to covid camps in the city of Anyang in Henan province. pic.twitter.com/q0EqlR0jlA
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All non-essential businesses were closed and a massive testing campaign was launched “to respond to the severe epidemic control situation and strictly prevent the spread of the omicron virus outbreak,” the agency published.
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Cases of Anyang, in Henan province, are linked to a contagious outbreak in the northern city of Tianjin, 400 km away.
The state network CCTV reported 58 new cases in Anyang on Tuesday, although it was not clear how many of them are associated with the omicron variant. The total number of infections in the city rose to 84 since Saturday.
Anyang had already restricted travel outside its limits, which authorities say is to “ensure that the outbreak does not spread” to surrounding areas.
China, which in the first half of 2020 had already largely controlled the virus that appeared in December 2019 in the center of the country, follows a zero covid policy based on targeted closures, border restrictions and prolonged quarantines.
His strategy was pressured by an outbreak in Xi’an, the largest in the country since March 2020, and by the appearance of the omicron variant. The city faces its third week of quarantine to eradicate the outbreak that has accumulated about 2,000 cases.
Authorities are particularly on the alert as the Beijing Winter Olympics approaches from February 4 to 20.
In the Henan region, close to Xi’an, at least three cities face outbreaks of the coronavirus.
The provincial capital of Zhengzhou closed schools and restaurants and the city of Yuzhou last week ordered its 1 million residents to stay home.
In other parts of the country, Tianjin, a port city 150 km from Beijing, has banned its inhabitants from leaving without permission from the authorities and ordered tests to be carried out on its 14 million residents.
Source: With information from AFP
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