Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang region, went into sudden lockdown on Thursday after confirming one new local COVID-19 patient and three asymptomatic cases, reported South China Morning Post.
“[We] will resolutely cut off the channel of transmission … strengthen the control of crowded places, the grid management of communities and villages, and carry out stringent screening in the fever clinics of hospitals,” Xinjiang’s Communist Party committee was quoted as saying on Friday by SCMP.
There were apprehensions of a new outbreak in the province after a businessman received a call from the Xinjiang Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take a coronavirus test on Tuesday. The businessman had travelled from Urumqi to Zhejiang.
According to Zhejiang’s health commission, he tested positive for COVID-19. On Thursday, Xinjiang’s health commission announced there was a new local coronavirus case.
The South China Morning Post reported, citing social media posts that the swiftness of Urumqi’s lockdown caught many by surprise as residents scrambled to buy groceries and essentials and travellers were stranded as flights were cancelled. As per the report, the city shut down its only subway line and restricted airport arrivals and departures.
It also reported that a user on Weibo, Chinese equivalent of Twitter, wondered in disbelief over the closure of Urumqi’s subway over just over one case. Another Urumqi resident said she understood the need to lock down the city as its health system was not as strong as elsewhere in China.