Three new Covid-19 infections, all asymptomatic, caused the lockdown of more than one million people in Yuzhou, a city in central China.
Due to the “zero Covid” strategy Beijing adopted since the beginning of the pandemic, Yuzhou is just the latest area affected by a restrictive lockdown even as China prepares for the Winter Olympics, which is scheduled to be held in Beijing and neighbouring towns Yanqing and Chongli from Feb 4 to 20.
The residents of Yuzhou, located in Henan province, were disallowed from leaving their homes starting from Tuesday (Jan 4) for the purpose of curbing the spread of infections.
They are required to stay home indefinitely, according to an announcement made on Monday (Jan 3), due to the discovery of three new Covid cases over the past few days.
Authorities have told people they “must not go out,” AFP reported, adding that a statement says “sentinels and gates to strictly implement epidemic prevention and control measures” are to be set up in all communities.
Additionally, shopping malls, museums and tourist attractions have been shut down in the city, and bus and taxi services have stopped.
Meanwhile, Henan province also reported five additional Covid cases, with China recording a total of 175 new infections on Jan 4.
The country has seen the highest number of infections since March 2020, AFP added.
In Xi’an, 95 new infections were recorded on Tuesday. The city, which is located in the nearby Shaanxi province, has 13 million inhabitants have been under lockdown for the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung noted on Jan 3 that an Omicron wave is imminent, with cases of the variant accounting for 17 per cent of total Covid-19 cases.
And while he wrote that “Omicron cases have started to creep up, making up around 17% of local cases currently,” he did not seem overly alarmed and underlined that Singapore’s “COVID-19 situation continues to be stable so far.”
“Vaccination and boosters remain the key response,” he added.
In September, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who heads the Multi-Ministry Task Force tackling the pandemic, said that Singapore would not return to a lockdown or period of Heightened Alert.
Last week, infectious disease experts including Dr Paul Tambyah sounded an optimistic note about the pandemic’s direction in light of new findings of the Omicron variant.
“Now that we know that the Omicron variant is probably a lot less virulent than the previous dominant strains, we can move closer back to treating Covid-19 like other potentially deadly contagious respiratory infections such as tuberculosis or influenza,” The Straits Times (ST) quoted Dr Tambyah as saying. /TISG