BEIJING (AP) — State media is reporting that the Chinese city of Xi’an has gradually begun to lift restrictions after more than three weeks of lockdown as authorities seek to eradicate a local outbreak.
State broadcaster CCTV reported on Sunday that some counties and development areas in Xi’an have started to restore production, citing a news conference by Xi’an officials.
They also said lockdown measures had been partially or completely lifted in some communities designated as low risk, allowing people to leave their homes for a limited time to shop for basic necessities.
The partial lifting of measures comes after the city went into strict lockdown on Dec. 22, following a local coronavirus outbreak that officials attributed to the delta variant. The city has reported more than 2,000 infections since December last year.
China seeks to eradicate local transmission of omicron and delta variants with its “zero COVID” policy. Several municipalities and cities in the southern province of Guangdong as well as Beijing have reported local cases of the more contagious variant of omicron in recent days.
The Beijing Daily reported on Sunday that the capital will require travelers to take nucleic acid tests within 72 hours of entering the city from January 22, days after reporting its first omicron case on Saturday. , just three weeks before the organization of the Winter Olympics.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. The previous AP story is below:
Beijing reported its first local omicron infection, according to state media, weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics.
The infected person lives and works in the northwestern district of Haidian city and has not traveled outside of Beijing in the past two weeks. The individual showed symptoms on Thursday and was tested for COVID-19 on Friday, officials said at a Saturday news conference.
News of the infection comes less than three weeks before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on February 4 and about two weeks before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations in China.
So far, several cities in China have reported omicron infections, including Zhuhai and Zhongshan in the southern province of Guangdong, as well as the city of Tianjin, located 30 minutes from Beijing by high-speed train.
Authorities across the country have urged residents to stay in their cities for the New Year, instead of returning to their hometowns. China has adopted a strict “zero-Covid” policy, with authorities locking down residential compounds and even entire cities like Xi’an when a local outbreak was discovered in a bid to stamp out community transmission.
The Beijing patient’s residential compound and workplace have been sealed off and authorities are mass testing people linked to either location for the coronavirus. Some 2,430 people had been tested by Saturday night, according to The Global Times, a state-owned newspaper.
China reported 119 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, 65 of which were domestic cases. The country has reported 104,864 infections since the start of the pandemic.
This story has been corrected to remove mention of Xi’an and Shanghai among locations with local cases of omicron.
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