Omicron In China: More Cities Under Lockdown, People Crammed Into Metal Boxes

Omicron In China: More Cities Under Lockdown, People Crammed Into Metal Boxes

World


Chinese residents continue to face strict Covid-19 measures as the authorities try to curb infections caused by the Omicron variant in some of China’s major cities ahead of the Winter Olympics and the Lunar New Year celebrations scheduled for next month.

Tianjin, Anyang, Shenzhen, Xi’an and Henan are under strict Covid-19 measures which have asked people to remain inside their homes. Though the number of cases are a handful, China is known for its zero-Covid policy under which it aims to completely wipe out the virus using vaccination, a strict testing regime, targeted lockdowns with stringent rules and tracking people through mobile apps.

Earlier on Monday, the city of Anyang reported 18 local cases including two cases which were linked to the Omicron cluster found last week in Tianjin. Henan’s capital Zhengzhou has ordered all of its residents – 13 million of them – to get tested and has put the city on partial lockdown.

Xi’an entered the third week of lockdown as its officials fight to contain the largest outbreak of at least 2,000 cases. The city’s 13 million residents will not be allowed to leave their homes and leave the city altogether.

However, China’s largest Omicron cluster is in Tianjin and authorities are concerned that it may have spread outside the city to the capital Beijing. Tianjin also has fewer cases but authorities are concerned because of its closeness to Beijing. Authorities will conduct a second round of testing for its 14 million residents after 33 new cases were found.

Authorities face criticism

China, which does not permit criticism of its government and the actions it takes, has faced ire of its own people over the handling of Covid-19. The first incident was reported in Xi’an where a pregnant woman suffered miscarriage after being denied entry into the hospital without a Covid test.

A report by news agency Daily Mail said that China was forcing residents of cities where cases of Covid-19 were found to quarantine in crammed metal boxes with no essential amenities.

Reports of mistreatment of the elderly, children and pregnant women were also seen in Chinese social media who complained of unclean toilets and lack of space. The reports also highlighted that citizens were outraged as they were brought to these quarantine camps in the dead of the night.

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