China seals off city of 3.5million people with 'toughest ever' coronavirus lockdown amid second wave fears

CHINA has sealed off a city of 3.5million people with its "toughest ever" coronavirus lockdown amid fears of a second wave.

Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, recorded five new coronavirus cases after registering its first Covid-19 infection in five months yesterday.

A woman, 24, who had a sore throat, fever and headaches tested positive. Three people whom she had close contact with also tested positive but did not show symptoms, health authorities in the city confirmed yesterday.

The eastern province of Zhejiang also reported an asymptomatic case involving a traveller from Xinjiang.

Urumqi also reported eight new asymptomatic cases on Friday- taking the province's tally to six infections and 11 asymptomatic cases.

Subway services were also suspended from Thursday and more than 600 scheduled flights at the international airport – equivalent to more than 80% of the day's total – were cancelled, according to aviation data from Variflight.

Juneyao Airlines and Shenzhen Donghai Airlines have today announced that all passengers travelling to and from Urumqi must show negative nucleic acid test results taken within seven days, Global Times reports.

All passengers planning to fly to Xinjiang will be required to display negative Covid-19 nucleic acid test results taken within seven days and a green health card, Chinese Eastern Airlines said on Wednesday.

A green health card means that people are not required to be under quarantine and can travel freely.

Bus services in a district neighbouring Urumqi closed down and all workers are required to undergo Covid-19 tests, state media reports.

Some social media users in the city said that they could not leave their houses and others claimed people were stopped leaving or entering Kashgar, another city in Xinjiang, BBC reports.

"We must resolutely cut off the channel of transmission, focus on key people and key areas, take the most determined, decisive and strictest measures to ensure that all investigations and inspections are conducted to resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic," Xinjiang's Communist Party said on Thursday.

Officials pledged to 'strictly implement provision and control measures' by monitoring who enters the region.

Highly populated communities will also be monitored.


"We must strengthen the control of crowded places, the grid management of communities and villages, and carry out stringent screening in the fever clinics and hospitals," the government said.

The Chinese government has long struggled with its 11-million-strong Uighur population, an ethnic Turkic minority native to the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The region is already under strict control as in recent years, more than one million Uighurs and other minorities in so-called "re-education" camps have been detained by the authorities.

Horrifying reports suggested that surgical sterilisations, abortions and other birth control measures were being forced on Muslim women to make minorities "disappear".

Xinjiang had reported a total of 76 Covid-19 cases since January but the region had stopped reporting new cases in February.

Mainland China confirmed 83,622 cases, with 4,634 deaths.

Beijing reported no new cases for the 11th consecutive day.

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