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Xi'an steps up anti-epidemic measures as COVID-19 cases top 1,100

Updated:2021-12-31 10:21:11   Xinhua

Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, reported 155 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Dec. 30, bringing the total number of local cases to 1,117 in the latest resurgence since Dec. 9.

Of the 155 new cases, 62 were found through mass nucleic acid testing and 92 were identified among those in quarantine at designated places, while the remaining case was detected when the person sought medical help, according to a press briefing held by the Xi'an municipal government on Thursday.

Starting from 10 a.m. Thursday, the city has launched a new round of mass nucleic acid testing to screen for as many infections as possible. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, samples had been collected from over 9 million people.

Authorities in Xi'an have upgraded epidemic control and prevention measures starting Monday, ordering all residents to stay indoors and refrain from gatherings except when taking nucleic acid tests.

The local outbreak in Xi'an is still developing rapidly, said He Qinghua, an official with the National Health Commission, noting that the risk of community transmission remains high.

In response to the grave situation, all of Xi'an's entertainment and tourist sites have been closed, while indoor public areas with risk of transmission have been placed under closed-off management. All motor vehicles except those used for epidemic control purposes have been banned from roads.

Most passenger trains and all domestic flights have been canceled as well.

The lockdown has bought time for widespread screening activity. With more than 5,000 sampling sites and over 160,000 workers, citywide nucleic acid testing has become ever more efficient.

The viral genome sequencing of the new cases has identified them as strains of the Delta variant, which are highly homologous with imported cases from an inbound flight on Dec. 4.

In the next step, efforts will be made to ensure the commuting of employees in key enterprises, and to facilitate the transportation of daily goods, said Chen Jianfeng, deputy director with the city's bureau of commerce.

"Although the curve has not been flattened so far, the lockdown will lower the risks of transmission caused by the population flow, and asymptomatic carriers can be detected through mass nucleic acid testing as soon as possible," said Zeng Lingxia, professor at the school of public health in Xi'an Jiaotong University. 

Keywords:   Xi'an COVID cases