China locks down third city, Anyang, raising total in strict quarantine to 20 million

The Chinese city of Anyang joined Xi’an and Yuzhou in lockdown because of a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Associated Press (AP).

On Monday, the government announced that they were locking down the city after two cases of Omicron were reported. It is not clear how long the lockdown of Anyang is expected to last.

The city, home to 5.5 million people, will add on to the millions of Chinese people confined to their homes, totaling 20 million in strict quarantine in China. Anyang, however, is the only locked down city reporting an Omicron variant outbreak. Xi’an and Yuzhou have had outbreaks of the Delta variant.

The Omicron cases in Anyang are allegedly connected to two other cases in Tianjin. According to the reported cases, the first report of Omicron in mainland China came from those who arrived from abroad and their immediate contacts.

There are also concerns about how this will affect Beijing’s Winter Olympics, which begin on Feb. 4. Huang Chun, a Beijing Olympics official responsible for disease control, said they are relying on athletes and officials to help avoid an outbreak during the event, according to AP.

“If the mass cluster transmission happens, it will impact the Games and the schedule for sure,” Huang said. “The worst scenario, if it happens, is independent of man’s will, so we leave our options open.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said kindergartens and primary schools would be closed after student infections were reported across the city. The schools will close on Friday and will remain closed until the first week of February, which also happens to be the start of Lunar New Year.

Recently, Hong Kong has increased COVID-19 restrictions after discovering the Omicron variant has entered the city from people arriving from abroad.

Featured image via CNA

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