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Third Chinese city placed under Covid lockdown

The country has taken a zero tolerance approach to the virus since it first emerged in central China in 2019

AFP, Beijing

AFP, Beijing

Published: October 28, 2021 08:54 AM GMT

Updated: October 28, 2021 09:01 AM GMT

Third Chinese city placed under Covid lockdown

A staff member sprays disinfectant on a bus as a preventive measure against Covid-19 in Yantai in eastern China's Shandong province on Oct. 28. (Photo: AFP)

China placed a third city under lockdown today to tackle Covid-19 numbers, with around six million people now under orders to stay home as Beijing chases zero cases before the upcoming Winter Olympics.

The country has taken a zero tolerance approach to the virus since it first emerged in central China in 2019, stamping out emerging flare-ups with border closures, targeted lockdowns and strict quarantines.

Although the hardline measures have kept the number of new cases far lower than most countries, the world's most populous nation is grappling with small outbreaks in at least 11 provinces.

The resurgence prompted officials this week to lock down Lanzhou city — with a population of over four million — and Ejin in the Inner Mongolia region.

After confirming one new case, authorities in Heihe in Heilongjiang province followed suit today, ordering people to stay at home and forbidding residents from leaving the far northern city except in emergencies, according to a local government statement.

Officials in the city, which borders Russia to the north, have also begun testing 1.6 million residents and tracing close contacts of the infected person, the statement said.

Tens of thousands more people remain under targeted lockdowns of housing compounds in several cities, including Beijing.

State media reported that bus and taxi services had been suspended and vehicles were not allowed to leave the city.

China reported 23 new domestic cases today, less than half of yesterday's number, in a sign that the country's tough disease controls may be working.

Lanzhou, which has been under lockdown since Tuesday, recorded just one new case, while Ejin — home to around 35,000 — added seven, according to government statements.

Tens of thousands more people remain under targeted lockdowns of housing compounds in several cities, including Beijing.

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The capital, which will host the Winter Games in February, has also curbed access to tourist sites and urged residents not to leave unless necessary.

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