Authorities impose lockdown in 3 cities as virus cases surge over weekend.
ISTANBUL (AA) – China has placed more cities under lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus ahead of the Winter Olympics.
The Winter Games, set to open in Beijing on Feb. 4, are expected to draw athletes from all over the world.
Beijing has put in place robust health mechanisms to avoid the spread of the infection, but fresh lockdown in three cities has triggered concerns over the major international event.
According to the National Health Commission of China, 175 new cases were reported on Monday, including 67 imported cases — which were brought by travelers entering the country.
There has been a slight slowdown in the number of virus cases across the country, but the virus map shows the spread is horizontal with more cities coming under lockdown.
Xi’an, the capital of northwestern Shaanxi province and the latest virus hotspot in the country, reported 95 locally transmitted cases on Monday.
The city of 13 million people has reported 1,750 cases since Dec. 9, a fresh uptick due to the fast spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.
The virus has also spread to eastern China, with many parts of Ningbo, a port city in Zhejiang province, put under lockdown, local daily Global Times reported on Tuesday.
“All of the cases are from a clothing manufacturing workshop Shenzhou International,” health officials said.
Officials in Beilun, one of most affected districts of the city, have announced strict restrictions and quarantine to curb the virus’s spread.
In some areas, residents are not even allowed to step out of their homes and emergency medicines are being delivered to them.
Elementary and middle schools have been asked to resume online classes.
On Sunday night, lockdown was also imposed in Yuzhou, a city in China’s central province of Henan.
So far, China has reported 102,841 COVID-19 cases with 4,636 deaths since the first cases were reported in December 2019.