Authorities in China’s southwestern city of Baise ordered residents to stay at home from Monday and avoid unnecessary travel as they enforced curbs that are among the toughest in the nation’s tool-box to fight rising local infections of Covid-19.
The outbreak in Baise, which has a population of about 3.6 million and borders Vietnam, is tiny by global standards, but the curbs, including a ban on non-essential trips in and out, follow a national guideline to quickly contain any flare-ups.
The effort takes on extra urgency during the staging of the Winter Olympics, which began on Friday and run until February 20, as well as a busy travel season for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Dozens of athletes for the Games, hosted by the capital Beijing and the northern province of Hebei, have tested positive and moved into isolation, but events have not been seriously affected in the absence of cluster spread in the closed loop insulating them from the public.
Baise, in the region of Guangxi, reported 37 domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms for Sunday, up from six the day before, data from the National Health Commission showed.
Residents should stay indoors except for trips to buy essentials or test for Covid-19, and should opt for delivery rather than in-store purchases whenever possible, state television said, citing a statement from the city government.
It has also suspended non-essential businesses, public transport and school sessions and delayed opening of ports of entry along the international border. Essential workers will need special passes for movement within Baise.
Including Baise, China reported 45 locally transmitted cases with symptoms for February 6, up from 13 a day earlier, NHC data show.
The southern province of Guangdong and the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin also reported sporadic local symptomatic cases for Sunday.
There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636.
By February 6, mainland China had 106,419 cases with confirmed symptoms since the outbreak first emerged in late 2019, including both local infections and those from abroad.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean OMeara