The capital of the Xinjiang region has become the latest Chinese city to go into lockdown following a new coronavirus outbreak.
Urumqi reported 16 new Covid-19 infections on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases confirmed since last Wednesday in the region up to 47. This spike comes after Xinjiang had not reported a single new case in nearly five months.
In response to this new threat, authorities have declared that Urumqi has gone into “wartime” mode with all public gatherings banned and residents strongly encouraged to remain in the city. Those attempting to venture out must first pass a nucleic acid test. Almost all flights out of the city have been canceled.
Shopping malls and hotels have all been shut down and residents will have to mostly remain inside their housing communities while their daily necessities are delivered.
Meanwhile, officials have started rolling out citywide testing, beginning with those communities that have been identified as being “high risk” for contracting the virus.
The model is the roughly same as the one followed last month by Beijing after China’s capital city had its own coronavirus outbreak. In the following weeks, Beijing tested around 11 million residents for Covid-19. The city has now gone 14 days without a local transmission.
There are worries that the coronavirus has already begun to spread outside of Urumqi to other cities in Xinjiang with Kashgar also reporting a confirmed case on Sunday.
Of course, considering all of China’s efforts at surveillance and control in the region, it should at least have a head start in tracing and containing the virus.