China shuts down city of 200,000 and tells people to stay home over one Covid case

·2-min read

A city in China has stopped all public transport and ordered its residents to stay at home after a local tested positive for the coronavirus infection.

Dongxing city in the Chinese region of Guangxi bordering Vietnam, which has a population of more than 200,000 people, has ordered all its residents to stay home from Wednesday.

The city has shut down tourist sites, cinemas and other entertainment venues, and in-person classes at primary and middle schools, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The city has also postponed the clearing of travellers and cargo through its port of entry.

Police in hazmat suits began blocking all inbound and outbound traffic except medical deliveries on Tuesday, while buses, taxis and shuttles were suspended inside the city, according to the South China Morning Post.

“Customs and immigration at Dongxing ports will be out of service,” a public notice said. “Except for supermarkets, farmers’ markets, hospitals and pharmacies, all businesses must close.”

The city has also set up 39 stations to collect samples for Covid-19 tests.

These strict measures were brought in place after authorities detected a domestically transmitted infection with confirmed symptoms during routine testing.

China, the country which reported the first case of Covid-19 in 2019, has increased vigilance along its borders and at ports to prevent the coronavirus from being carried in from overseas, especially ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. The Asian giant has adopted a “zero-Covid” policy and stepped up restrictions within the country.

China reported 77 fresh cases of coronavirus on 21 December, the health authority said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the northern city of Xi’an enforced a strict lockdown from midnight on Thursday and ordered all its 13 million residents to stay home to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases. Authorities have instructed residents not to leave the city “unless necessary”. Those who want to leave must provide evidence of “special circumstances” and apply for approval.

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