Northwestern City Imposes “Wartime” Lockdown As Another COVID-19 Cluster Emerges In China: Live Updates
Sat, 07/18/2020 – 10:56
- Xinjiang capital closed due to outbreak
- US sees another daily record in COVID-19 cases
- Florida reports latest numbers
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Another Chinese city has assumed a “wartime footing” and reimposed strict lockdowns along with aggressive testing and tracking after a cluster of cases was discovered yesterday.
Except this time, the city being locked down also happens to be the capital of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Province, where CCP officials were recently targeted by US sanctions over their involvement in an extensive prison-camp system where 1 million or more of the state’s Muslim Uighur population have been imprisoned.
Though the virus hit the city during the first round of the outbreak, Party officials tasked with overseeing public-health in Xinjiang said that officials had tracked the latest cluster to Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, according to the official Weibo account of the regional government.
In Urumqi, local officials asked people not to make unnecessary trips outside the city, and asked that anybody who absolutely needs to travel take a test first. The government also carried out city-wide free infection tests, officials told the press conference as part of what the officials termed a “wartime” response.
Director of the Disease Control and Prevention Center in Urumqi, Rui Baoling, told a news conference on Saturday that recent cases in the city were associated with a cluster of activities. All the confirmed cases and asymptomatic infections were reported in the Tianshan District, CCTV said. She didn’t say what activities were involved.
“The epidemic has developed rapidly,” Rui was quoted saying.
Xinjiang has so far mostly avoided the worst of the pandemic, which burst out of the central Chinese city of Wuhan (capital of the centrally located Hubei Province) in December and January (though there’s some evidence to suggest that the virus might have been spreading internationally and domestically prior to then). The province is rural and among the poorest in China. On Saturday morning, the region reported a total of 17 coronavirus cases, plus 11 asymptomatic cases (remember these data are reported with a 24 hour delay). Another 269 people were under medical observation.
Urumqi on Friday launched an emergency response plan that placed the city on a “wartime footing” and called for the study of new cases, both symptomatic and asymptomatic.
“The epidemic situation is generally controllable,” Rui was quoted as saying to state media.
And while that may be true, the CCP isn’t taking any chances. The crackdown to suppress the cluster led the city to cancel more than 600 scheduled flights at Urumqi Diwopu International Airport, more than 4/5ths of total flights. The city also suspended subway services. Including the 16 cases in Urumqi, China reported 22 new cases over the last 24 hours, up from 10 a day earlier.
Six of those were imported.
China reported 14 new asymptomatic patients, up from five a day earlier.
The outbreak in Xinjiang comes after the PRC’s capital Beijing suffered a flare-up of coronavirus infections last month.
As of Friday, mainland China had 83,644 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.
Meanwhile, the US set another record on Friday by reporting more than 77,000 coronavirus cases (77,233 to be exact) and 951 deaths. The US is now averaging just under 1,000 deaths per day. While the numbers are still nowhere near the 3,000/month that the CDC had once worried about, it still represents movement in the wrong direction.
The US set another one-day record with reported on Friday, prompting some hard-hit states to impose new lockdown measures, including the shuttering of most California schools. The 77,233 infections recorded by the Covid Tracking Project were accompanied by another grim tally of 951 fatalities.
On Saturday, Florida showed some signs of stabilization, with 10,328 new Florida COVID-19 cases overnight, bringing the total to 337,569. Hospital admissions climbed to 20,632 while the state reported another 90 deaths, bringing the total to 4,895 deaths.