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China: 13 million under lockdown as coronavirus cases rise

A medical worker in protective suit collects a swab sample from a man for nucleic acid testing at a residential compound, during another round of mass testing following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 27, 2021. Photo: Reuters

China’s local symptomatic coronavirus cases have risen for a fourth consecutive day on Monday, with Xian city reporting more infections in a flare-up that has put 13 million residents under lockdown.

According to Reuters, Xian reported 175 symptomatic cases, up from the previous day’s 150, official data showed on Tuesday.

No Omicron infections have been announced yet from the 810 confirmed cases in Xian from December 9 to Monday. China has reported only a handful of Omicron infections among international travelers and in its south.

Nationwide, mainland China detected 182 local symptomatic cases for Monday, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 162 a day earlier and marks a fourth consecutive day of the increase.

Monday’s national local symptomatic caseload also marks the highest daily count since the official daily bulletin started to classify asymptomatic carriers separately at the end of March last year.

Case numbers in Xian and in China are small compared with many clusters in other countries, but officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within the city and on leaving it, in line with the national guideline to immediately contain outbreaks.

Since last week, Xian residents have not been allowed to leave the city without clearance from their employer or authorities.

Officials have restricted permission for people to go out for necessary shopping during a new round of mass testing which started on Monday and banned non-essential vehicles from entering roads.

There were no new deaths on Monday, leaving the national death toll at 4,636. Mainland China had 101,486 confirmed symptomatic cases as of the end of December 27, including both local ones and those arriving from abroad.