Amid Delta outbreak, China puts city of 4M on lockdown
China put the Langzhou city under a strict lockdown as COVID-19 cases are starting to rise across the country. The capital of the Gansu province, Langzhou is home to four million people. The city's residents will now be required to stay at home. Lanzhou has reported 39 COVID-19 cases since since October 17 that have been linked to the highly-contagious Delta variant.
Why does it matter?
- China has placed millions of people across the country under lockdown, including thousands in capital Beijing.
- Infections in the country have started to rise due to the Delta variant, however, the outbreak is relatively under control.
- China is looking to eradicate the virus completely with the 2022 Winter Olympics a little over 100 days away.
Movement, public transport restricted
In Lanzhou, the "entry and exit of residents" will be strictly controlled and limited to essential supplies or medical treatment, authorities announced Tuesday. Bus and taxi services have been suspended. Over 70 trains have also been halted, including those leading to Beijing and Xi'an. Reportedly, Southern Airlines also canceled all flights from Beijing's Daxing airport to Lanzhou until further orders.
China reports 43 new cases
China reported 43 new cases on Monday, the National Health Commission reported Tuesday. Six of them were reported in Lanzhou. Since October 17, China has reported 198 more COVID-19 cases. The latest outbreak has been linked to the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which was first detected in India and has caused surges in coronavirus infections across the world.
Sunday marathon canceled in Beijing
In Beijing, too, several housing blocks have been put under lockdown. Around 23,000 residents at one housing compound in Changping have been ordered to stay indoors. Places with local outbreaks in the last 14 days will restrict the entry of people. A marathon with 30,000 runners was also canceled on Sunday. Community rooms for chess and mahjong players have also been closed.
Lockdowns ordered in other cities
Separately, Wuhan organizers also canceled a marathon with 26,000 runners on Sunday. Wuhan is where COVID-19 cases were first reported in late 2019. In Ejin Banner in the northern Inner Mongolia region, 35,000 residents were placed under lockdown starting Monday along with 10,000 tourists. One city official was fired over "poor performance" while six other officials were punished over their "slack response."