Chinese authorities have placed a third city under lockdown as part of efforts to control flare-ups of COVID-19. Around six million people in the country are now living in quarantine.
This year’s Winter Olympics games are scheduled to take place in China’s capital city of Beijing. Due to this, local authorities are keen to stamp out any COVID-19 cases in their country, both to protect the athletes and, likely, in hopes of getting praised at home and abroad.
As part of this effort, several Chinese cities are observing partial or full lockdowns. On Tuesday, the city of Lanzhou in the Gansu province was placed under complete quarantine. Today, the third city — Heihe — has been placed under the same restrictions.
Locked down again
China has had a hardline stance on the spread of the virus ever since it first emerged in 2019. The country was quick to institute targeted lockdowns, quarantine whole cities, and enact border closures to stop the spread of the virus. In broad lines, all these measures did pay off, and China grappled with the first wave of the pandemic quite effectively.
But they didn’t stop the coronavirus entirely. Several new flare-ups have been recorded in at least eleven of the country’s provinces, sparking a whole new round of lockdowns and quarantines.
Together with the four-million-citizen-strong Lanzhou, the city of Ejin (home to around 35,000 people) in Inner Mongolia has also been placed under lockdown three days ago. This decision follows a period of several days during which locals were ordered not to leave the city until further notice. Throughout China, an estimated six million people are now under quarantine. A few more tens of thousands are under orders to stay at home and limit their outside interactions to those that are strictly essential.
This Thursday, the city of Heihe in Heilongjiang province has also issued orders for its citizens to stay at home and forbidding travel outside of the city except in emergencies. Local authorities have also begun performing a testing campaign for its 1.6 million residents, and contact-tracing efforts for those identified as infected.
According to state media, public transportation and taxi services inside the city have been suspended, and vehicles were not allowed to go outside its bounds.
Residents in Beijing have also been ordered not to leave the capital since Monday, and quarantines have been imposed in certain residential areas.