China confines a city of four million people

The Chinese authorities imposed confinement on Tuesday in Lanzhou (northwest), which has a population of four million, due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a hundred days after the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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The country where the coronavirus emerged nearly two years ago reported 29 new patients of local origin on Tuesday. The majority are linked to the movements of a group of infected tourists.

While these numbers may seem insignificant compared to those recorded daily in other parts of the world, they are prompting authorities to double their vigilance as China prepares to host the Winter Olympics on February 4, 2022.

A recent outbreak in Inner Mongolia, in the north of the country, has been responsible for more than 100 cases since last week.

Several provinces have since reported patients, notably Gansu (Northwest).

France Press agency

On Tuesday, the municipality announced in Lanzhou, its capital, that all residential areas will be subject to “closed management” and strict movement control.

The authorities said in a statement that any exit from the home would now be possible only for “essential purchases”, a necessity linked to the pandemic, or “emergency medical treatment”.

Lanzhou is located about 1,400 km west of Beijing.

The Chinese capital is also on alert as the Olympics approach.

France Press agency

In recent days, the authorities have asked residents to avoid “non-essential” trips outside the city, as well as large gatherings.

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Anyone arriving in Beijing from an area where COVID-19 cases have been identified must test negative.

The Beijing Marathon has been postponed indefinitely. About 30,000 runners are scheduled to participate on Sunday.

In an indication of the seriousness of the situation in the eyes of the authorities, the police in the capital announced, on Monday, the opening of three investigations for allegedly failing to comply with health rules.

Among the suspects: infected people who would have concealed their health, trapped residents who would have built the wall, or pharmacists accused of giving clients fever and cough medicine, without informing authorities.

China has been able to resume nearly normal social and economic activity since 2020, thanks in particular to strict travel control via mobile apps.

Only two deaths have been recorded in over a year.

The country maintains a health policy aimed at “completely eradicating infection”, with strict restrictions on entry to its territory, mandatory quarantine, confinement and testing once a few cases emerge.

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