Xian fights biggest COVID-19 outbreak in a Chinese city this year


Beijing (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Xian reported on Thursday another 155 local COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of cases to the highest seen in any Chinese city this year, as infections keep spreading eight days into lockdown for its 13 million people.

The northwestern city reported 155 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms such as a fever on Wednesday, official data showed on Thursday, up from 151 cases a day earlier. This takes the total number of local coronavirus cases to 1,100 since the current flare-up began on Dec. 9.

Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and Micron Technology (MU.O), two of the world’s largest memory chip makers, have warned the lockdown could affect their chip manufacturing bases in the area.

Xian has embarked on multiple rounds of citywide testing to trace transmissions. A sixth round kicked off on Thursday, a day after the fifth round.

“Xian has reached a live-or-die stage in its fight against the virus,” said Zhang Fenghu, a city government official, at a news conference on Wednesday.

Despite the low case count in Xian compared with many clusters overseas, officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and out of the city since Dec. 23, as Beijing demands each outbreak be contained quickly.

Many residents have been banned from leaving their housing compounds unless they are going out to take COVID-19 tests or attend to essential matters approved by local authorities.

These restrictions have curtailed access to daily necessities, with many unable to go out to shop and left dependent on deliveries.

The curbs have caused a staffing crunch at companies involved in ensuring the supply of daily necessities and the government is working on resolving the issue, according to a Xian government official on Wednesday, who did not specify the type of firms or workers.

The southwestern region of Guangxi also reported one local symptomatic case for Dec. 29, the National Health Commission said.

Mainland China had 101,890 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, including locally transmitted ones and people arriving from abroad.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

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