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China's Xi'an marks first week of lockdown as COVID-19 cases persist

BEIJING: A lockdown of 13 million people in the Chinese city of Xi'an entered its seventh day on Wednesday (Dec 29), with many unable to leave their homes and virtually dependent on deliveries of necessities as new COVID-19 infections persisted.

Xi'an reported 151 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, or nearly all of the 152 cases nationwide, bringing the total number of local Xi'an cases to nearly 1,000 during the Dec 9 to 28 period. No cases of the Omicron variant have been announced in the city.

While the Xi'an outbreak is small compared with outbreaks in many other places around the world, officials imposed tough curbs on travel within and leaving the city from Dec 23, in line with Beijing's drive to immediately contain outbreaks as they appear.

Since Monday, the Xi'an government has stopped granting permission to people seeking to leave their homes to buy essentials, as epidemic containment measures rose a notch.

It said in-person shopping could be resumed for people in less risky areas once mass testing returned negative results, but it did not say exactly when stay-at-home order would be lifted.

That stirred complaints on social media from some residents about about the uncertain access of fresh produce.

Several district-level governments in Xi'an have started arranging grocery deliveries to residents, the city government said.

Authorities also started a new round of city-wide testing on Wednesday.

There were no new COVID-19 deaths in mainland China for Tuesday, leaving the death toll at 4,636.

Mainland China had 101,683 confirmed symptomatic cases as of Tuesday, including both domestic cases and infections brought in from abroad.

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Source: Reuters/ng

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