Mar 20, 2022: China on Sunday imposed stay-at-home orders on millions more people in the country’s northeast as it battles its biggest COVID-19 outbreak in two years.
The country has largely kept the virus at bay since it brought to heel its initial outbreak in 2020 using targeted lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.
After the Omicron strain of COVID-19 has taken hold in multiple cities across China, Jilin, the second-biggest city in Jilin province, will lock down about 4.5 million inhabitants for three days from Monday night, local authorities announced.
More than 4,000 new infections were reported across China on Sunday, with two-thirds in Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea.
China reported its first two COVID-19 deaths in more than a year on Saturday. Jiao Yahui, a National Health Commission official, told a news briefing on Saturday that both deaths occurred in elderly patients and were the result of their underlying condition. He said one of them had not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Since March 11, nine million people in Changchun have been allowed to go out only once every two days to buy food.
East of the capital Beijing, the city of Tangshan banned traffic for 24 hours on Sunday in an effort to slow the virus’ spread, and will test all its 7.7 million people.
President Xi Jinping earlier this week urged tighter virus controls at ports of entry and stressed the need to “swiftly control local clustered outbreaks”.
Meanwhile, restrictions are being eased in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, which locked down its 17.5 million residents a week ago.
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