Covid outbreak shuts down Chinese city as Beijing and Shanghai return to new normal
- Inner Mongolian centre of Erenhot imposes new restrictions after a string of community cases
- Case numbers down to single digits in country’s financial and political capitals
The National Health Commission said on Monday that 16 new local cases had been reported in Inner Mongolia, the third day in a row of more than 10 community cases and taking the total in this outbreak to 41. There were also 33 new local asymptomatic cases, amounting to 49 in total.
The cases prompted Erenhot, a county-level city in the Xilin Gol League, to impose lockdown-like measures, asking all residents to stay home unless they need to attend to urgent business.
Most businesses except supermarkets, pharmacies and medical centres have been told to suspend operations, and travel in and out of the area has been restricted.
Local authorities said there was enough food to meet the city’s needs for more than 30 days, and supermarkets and other businesses were continuing to replenish supplies.
Authorities will use online purchasing and non-contact delivery systems to get essentials to residents.
The education bureau will also set up special examination rooms for the more than 330 students sitting the national college entrance exams.
Inner Mongolia has been hit by several Covid-19 outbreaks this year, with more than 500 locally transmitted confirmed Covid-19 cases from mid-February to early May. After nearly a month without new cases, Xilin Gol League reported three positive cases on Thursday.
In February, about half a dozen local officials in the regional capital Hohhot were sacked for failing their duties to control outbreaks.
Tourism is an important part of the region’s economy but more than 40 per cent of tour agents in Hohhot are struggling, with half of them having suspended or barely maintaining operations, according to a local government survey last month.
However in Beijing, residents can dine in restaurants once again and public parks and entertainment venues have reopened, with the capital reporting only five new community cases.
But public transport services remain suspended in Fengtai district – one of the hardest hit in the capital – to reduce traffic flow. On Monday, the city reported only five new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases.
In the northeast, authorities in Liaoning province are trying to track a string of asymptomatic cases. Since May 24, a total of 141 have been reported in the city of Dandong on the border with North Korea.