Beijing, January 1 (Reuters): The Chinese city of Xian entered its 10th day of lockdown on Saturday as the COVID-19 outbreak has yet to show any solid sign of easing in the country’s epicentre of the latest flare-up.
The city of 13 million people reported 174 new local cases with confirmed clinical symptoms for Dec. 31, National Health Commission data showed on Saturday, up from 161 a day earlier.
That brings the tally of community transmissions to 1,451 since the first local infection of the outbreak was reported on Dec. 9.
The Xian outbreak, which also led to cases in other cities including Beijing, can be traced back to a flight that arrived from Pakistan. But it is unclear how it then spread to local communities exactly.
Many people have been forbidden from leaving their residential compounds, but a city government official said on Friday curbs would be loosened in less risky compounds when the time was right.
Postgraduate student Li Jiaxin, 23, said nobody can leave the campus of her university. She spent New Year’s Eve with her three room mates and was unable to meet with her boyfriend and family.
“Before the outbreak happened, I thought I might go out to see a movie with my boyfriend and some friends (on New Year’s Eve), and then have a drink and a meal or something,” she said.
“I may be what you would consider a person with a strong sense of ritual, so I still feel a little sad that we are not together at this time.”
Nationwide, China reported 231 new confirmed cases for Dec 31, up from 195 a day earlier. Of the new infections, 175 were locally transmitted, the National Health Commission said, up from 166 a day earlier.
All but one of the 175 new local cases were found in Xian, capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi.
There were no new fatalities, leaving the nationwide death toll unchanged at 4,636.
Mainland China had 102,314 confirmed cases as of Friday, up by 15,243 infections compared with 87,071 cases as of Dec. 31, 2020.
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