Coronavirus Panic: China Locks Down Another 5.5 Million People

Coronavirus Panic: China Locks Down Another 5.5 Million People

Local Communist Party authorities in Anyang, China, ordered all of the city’s 5.5 million residents to observe strict stay-at-home orders in a notice issued Monday evening after health officials detected an increase in Anyang’s Chinese coronavirus caseload, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

Anyang’s municipal government on January 10 “issued orders to ban all vehicles from roads and required all residents to stay put while an epidemiological investigation is underway,” according to Xinhua, which is China’s official state-run press agency.

“Currently, all supermarkets in the city have suspended business other than selling daily necessities. Shops have been closed and take-out services have also been suspended,” the report revealed.

Anyang’s health department said it recorded 58 new Chinese coronavirus infections on January 11. The additional cases increased the community’s caseload of the disease to 84 since January 8, according to state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

“The city set up health monitoring points at every entrance and exit; suspended ticket sales for trains and buses that go out of the city, and ordered taxis and ride-hailing vehicles not to go out,” China’s state-run Global Times reported of Anyang on January 10.

Anyang Communist Party officials said they halted all travel out of the prefecture-level city on January 10 to “ensure that the outbreak does not spill over into outside areas.” Anyang is the northernmost city of China’s Henan province. The community of Anyang borders China’s northern Hebei province, which surrounds the Chinese national capital, Beijing.

The Chinese Communist Party’s eagerness to prevent a coronavirus spillover in Beijing prompted Anyang party affiliates to forcibly quarantine at least “1,495 close contacts” of confirmed Chinese coronavirus patients in the city as of January 10, according to the Global Times.

Beijing is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games from February 4 to February 20. Communist Party officials say they will impose a “closed-loop” management system on all participants of the Games, including both athletes and staff, to help create a coronavirus-free bubble within Beijing during the event. Beijing has a population of nearly 21 million and promises to draw at least 20,000 volunteers and 2,900 international athletes to the Chinese national capital to participate in the Games.

“Starting Tuesday [January 4], thousands of Games-related staff, volunteers, cleaners, cooks and coach drivers will be cocooned for weeks in the so-called ‘closed loop’ with no direct physical access to the outside world,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on January 4 when Beijing launched preparations for its parallel Olympic universe.

“Anyone entering the bubble must be fully vaccinated or face a 21-day quarantine when they touch down, and everyone inside will be tested daily and must wear face masks at all times,” according to the news agency.

Beijing transit officials have created a separate metro system specifically for participants of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The project includes “dedicated transport between venues with … high-speed rail systems,” AFP revealed on January 4.

Gabrielle Reyes