Chinese health authorities said Thursday they found 91 new confirmed COVID cases in Xi’an, the capital city of Central China’s Shaanxi Province, as of 1300 local time on Thursday, bringing the total cases in the western city to 234, according to Xinhua’s count. The new figures come as authorities have locked down the city as China scrambles to prevent even the hint of an omicron wave as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics.
The lockdown imposed by the CCP left stretches of highway in the city eerily bare on Thursday, according to a Reuters report, as workers set up lockdown enforcement checkpoints. The number of new cases reported in the city has now increased for 7 straight days starting with Dec. 17’s report. The city has a population of 13MM, which is notably larger than NYC’s 9MM.
So far, at least, no cases of omicron have been confirmed, according to the CCP, but there’s always the possibility that health authorities have identified (or are simply just not looking for) the strain since news of new omicron cases might engender more panic.
While practically every other nation has abandoned the “Zero COVID” approach, Beijing has pledged to continue it, surrounding each new outbreak – however mild – with testing resources while enforcing strict and immediate localized lockdowns. Beijing’s official stance is that no COVID can be allowed to spread.
Starting Thursday, each household in the city may only send one person to shop for necessities, once every two days, while others aren’t permitted to leave unless they have essential jobs.
Anybody who wants to leave must test negative before departure and get clearance from employers or community-level authorities.