Covid lockdown lifted in Xi'an - RTHK
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Covid lockdown lifted in Xi'an

2022-01-24 HKT 16:51
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  • Xi'an residents shop for food and daily necessities at a supermarket. Photo: Xinhua
    Xi'an residents shop for food and daily necessities at a supermarket. Photo: Xinhua
One of China's longest coronavirus lockdowns since the start of the pandemic came to an end on Monday as authorities announced the lifting of most restrictions in the northern megacity of Xi'an.

The historic city's 13 million residents had been confined to their homes since December 22 after the discovery of a Covid-19 cluster that grew to over 2,100 cases, China's largest local outbreak in months.

With the Winter Olympics set to begin next week, Chinese authorities have been scrambling to eradicate flare-ups in several major cities, most recently Beijing, where more than 40 cases have been recorded since mid-January.

Officials began removing restrictions in Xi'an last week after daily cases slowed to single digits.

Residents with a clean bill of health are now permitted to leave the city, while public transport and economic activity have fully resumed now that Xi'an has been deemed a "low-risk" area, virus control authorities said in Monday's statement.

Only one district now remains under lockdown, the notice said, with restrictions to be lifted at a later date.

But travellers to Xi'an, home of the famed terracotta warriors, still need to provide a recent negative test result, while those from virus-affected areas of China are barred entry.

Xi'an authorities came under fire for their handling of the prolonged lockdown, including food supply issues and medical tragedies stemming from patients being denied hospital access.

China on Monday reported 18 domestic transmissions, six of which were found in Beijing. Other recent virus hotspots including the city of Tianjin and southern Guangdong province reported single-digit cases. (AFP)