Despite strict quarantine, Xian’s outbreak led China to record its highest number of daily infections this year

A medical worker in a protective suit takes a swab sample from a man for nucleic acid testing in a residential complex, during another round of massive testing following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province. , China, December 27, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS (STRINGER /)

China scored today, with 182 positives, its highest mark of new cases of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in all of 2021 despite the zero tolerance policy and tough prevention measures that the Asian country maintains.

This maximum number of infections is due to the outbreak registered in the last two weeks in the central city of Xian, which with 810 active cases -175 detected in the last day- has its 13 million inhabitants under strict confinement since last Thursday.

Along with local infections, China’s health authorities announced this Tuesday 27 imported cases.

WUHAN REMINISCENCES

The Xian authorities decreed a lockdown that prohibits leaving town without a negative PCR and official permit, suspends most transport lines to the city and vetoes taxi services in the most urbanized areas, a strategy reminiscent of the one applied in Wuhan in the early days of the pandemic.

Health workers test for Covid-19, in a file photograph.  EFE / EPA / STRINGER
Health workers test for Covid-19, in a file photograph. EFE / EPA / STRINGER (STRINGER /)

Likewise, most public places, with the exception of supermarkets and medical institutions, are closed and all events and activities both indoors and outdoors have been canceled.

Under the vigilance of the neighborhood committees, the people of Xian have to remain in their homes, from which only one member can go out every two days to make the essential purchases, and work from home as far as possible, the authorities explained.

To avoid some panic scenes that have occurred previously in confined or semi-confined cities, the authorities assured that there are sufficient reserves of food such as oil, eggs and vegetables, and that their prices remain stable.

DISINFECTION AND TEST

Since they began to find positive cases in the city, the authorities applied the usual protocol wherever a case is detected in China: massive PCR tests – there have already been four rounds of testing the population – and restriction of exits and entrances in the neighborhoods affected.

Police officers and staff members in protective gear inspect a traveler's documents at the entrance of a train station following travel restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, in Xian, Shaanxi Province, China, December 23, 2021. REUTERS / China Daily
Police officers and staff members in protective gear inspect a traveler’s documents at the entrance of a train station following travel restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, in Xian, Shaanxi Province, China, December 23, 2021. REUTERS / China Daily (CHINA DAILY /)

Although at first a quarantine hotel for passengers arriving from abroad was identified as a possible origin of the outbreak, later infections could not be related to the hotel, which indicated that there was already local spread.

Given the magnitude of the outbreak, the local government ordered more aggressive measures such as generalized confinement and even the disinfection of the streets.

Large-scale disinfection efforts in the city began last Sunday, before which residents were warned to close windows and remove clothes hanging outside.

The images released by the Chinese media show workers in protective suits spraying disinfectant liquid at entrances to official buildings, sidewalks, the subway and even spraying it in the air.

FILE PHOTO: Workers in protective suits stand at the entrance to a residential area of ​​the university under lockdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, on December 20, 2021 Picture taken on December 20, 2021. China Daily via REUTERS / File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Workers in protective suits stand at the entrance to a residential area of ​​the university under lockdown following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, on December 20, 2021 Picture taken on December 20, 2021. China Daily via REUTERS / File photo (CHINA DAILY /)

OMICRON CAUTION

The 810 active cases in Xian, famous for hosting the Terracotta Warriors, currently account for 35% of the 2,275 active positives across mainland China, which has been dealing with small outbreaks since mid-October.

This year and according to official figures, the strict health protocols of the Asian country have prevented the uncontrolled spread of the virus, even though the contagious delta variant managed to elude prevention measures and cause some outbreaks last summer.

The current outbreaks occur less than 40 days before the Beijing Olympic Games, which will challenge China’s zero tolerance strategy against covid, and while the world faces an increase in infections from the omicron variant.

China has not confirmed so far any contagion by local transmission of the new variant, but several imported ones have been detected in travelers in quarantine.

Medical workers in protective suits at a makeshift nucleic acid analysis laboratory set up at a convention center after the COVID-19 outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, December 22, 2021. REUTERS / cnsphoto
Medical workers in protective suits at a makeshift nucleic acid analysis laboratory set up in a convention center after the COVID-19 outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, December 22, 2021. REUTERS / cnsphoto (STRINGER /)

A CAL Y CANTO

The country is still closed to tourism and the vast majority of travelers from abroad, and Chinese aviation authorities currently limit international flights to and from China to 2.2% of those before the pandemic.

All passengers, regardless of their origin or nationality, must undergo a strict quarantine of a minimum of 14 days in specialized hotels, where the stay is paid for by the traveler.

The Government has made its strategy and its management of the pandemic one of its main prides and its media use it as an example against that of the United States, where the covid has already left more than 800,000 dead.

Despite the fact that the Chinese who live in areas where cases are detected do face a restriction of their movements and a great paralysis of social and economic life, the rest of the population leads a relatively normal life.

People practice social distancing while lining up at a nucleic acid testing site during a massive test following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, on December 21, 2021. Picture taken on December 21, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
People practice social distancing while lining up at a nucleic acid testing site during a massive test following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, on December 21, 2021. Picture taken on December 21, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS (STRINGER /)

According to China’s official accounts, since the beginning of the pandemic, 101,486 people have been infected in the country, among whom 94,575 have managed to heal and 4,636 have died.

(with information from EFE)

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Source-www.infobae.com