Xi’an city in Shanxi province in China, has seen a reemergence of Covid-19, and this time, it is the new BA.5.2 branch of Omicron variant.
On July 6, Shanxī provincial officials confirmed that a local person in Xi’an city had tested positive for Omicron, and the source of the infection was under investigation. These officials also acknowledged that “the epidemic situation in Xi’an is currently serious and complicated,” so they will take control for seven days from July 6. At the same time, there was information on the Internet that the people of Xi’an were fleeing the city in a wave after receiving this news.
According to data from the official website of the Shanxī Provincial Health and Medical Commission, for three consecutive days from July 3 to 5, Xi’an had 23 more new local positive cases.
According to Sohu.com, Xi’an officials announced that a newly discovered case was confirmed to have been infected with the Omicron BA.5 variant, which has a stronger transmission capacity and faster transmission rate than the common variant Omicron. The case of BA.5.2 in Xi’an is the first known localized outbreak in China caused by the BA.5 branch. Temporary control measures for seven days have been implemented in Xi’an city’s public places.
According to Finance Sina, from 0:00 on July 6, public entertainment places, gathering places, areas for public cultural activities, rural markets, etc., have ceased operation and business. Special places such as retirement facilities; food service providers in the city; primary schools, secondary schools, kindergartens, colleges, and universities have been closed to self-administration. Large-scale conferences and various offline training sessions are banned for one week.
Xi’an announced a week of control, supermarket food quickly emptied, and train stations filled up
According to Xinjiyuan, after news of the “temporary control for a week” was released, the people of Xi’an, who had been through a severe lockdown for more than a month from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, immediately began to feel bewildered, because they were afraid that this so-called “temporary control” would become a permanent lockdown again. Hence, they rushed to the supermarkets to stock up on groceries.
Pictures posted by Chinese people on the Weibo social network show that food items in supermarkets are sold out.
A video posted on Twitter by netizens shows many people flocking to train stations, anxiously waiting to board the train to leave Xi’an before the lockdown measures began at 0:00 on July 6. A video from the Twitter account “@Baoliaogeming64” shows a group of young men dragging suitcases while running to the station to catch the train.
The Vision Times news quoted some netizens’ comments: “Last night, the subway was full of students carrying suitcases.” Another netizen said: “Promote the tourism industry, this is a great solution,” with one netizen presuming: “The Communist Party said that Shanghai would be controlled for four days, but it had been closed for two months. This time, if it’s seven days, I’m afraid it will take another two months.”
According to Caixin, on the evening of June 5, many passengers lined up in the square of Xi’an station, waiting to enter the station to catch the train, including many university students and tourists from other places.
A university student with the alias JingYi said that her school just started summer vacation on July 16, but after seeing the news that the city was about to close temporarily, she decided to go home and left class to buy tickets for the 11 pm train. This student said she did not have time to pack up her luggage or wash her dirty clothes, so she just took her bag and hurriedly set off, but when she arrived at the train station after 8 pm, it was already crowded.
Another university student with the alias Yang Ni said that after the news about her school’s impending closure was released on June 5, her classmates were “frustrated .”She said that everyone was very nervous. “It’s like closing schools in the winter. If the lockdown is getting stricter, what to do? No one wants to experience this a second time,” the student said.
According to Xinjiyuan TV station, because the station was packed with people eager to leave, the railway department temporarily opened an additional train from Xi’an to Shenmu city in northern Shanxi province in the early morning of July 6.
However, according to Newtalk, Xianyang International Airport, Xi’an canceled 323 incoming and outgoing flights on July 6. Xianyang International Airport said that because the epidemic situation may change, Xi’an currently has medium and high-risk areas and may continue to increase, so the airport’s anti-epidemic policy can be adjusted at any time.