China's Urumqi City Enters "War Mode" After Covid-19 Outbreak

Authorities urged people not to make unnecessary trips outside the city in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Urumqi, the capital of western China's Xinjiang region, entered "war mode" and launched an emergency response plan after the city reported 16 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday.

State television CCTV said unidentified officials said at a press conference that the city had suspended the meetings and ordered communities to restrict visits to other homes.

Aiming to prevent the spread of the virus, he urged people not to make unnecessary trips out of the city and ordered tests for anyone who needed to leave Urumqi. It has also carried out free infection tests throughout the city, officials said at the press conference as part of what authorities called a "wartime" response.

In its official account, the regional government said that all recent new infections and asymptomatic cases reported in the autonomous region were in Urumqi.

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The director of the Urumqi Disease Control and Prevention Center, Rui Baoling, stated at the press conference that recent cases in the city were associated with a cluster of activities, with all confirmed cases and asymptomatic infections reported in the district. Tianshan CCTV said.

The official did not say what activities were involved. "The epidemic has developed rapidly," said Rui.

Xinjiang, home to most of China's Uighur ethnic minority, has so far largely avoided the worst of the coronavirus pandemic that erupted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

As of July 17, the region reported a total of 17 coronavirus cases, plus 11 asymptomatic cases. Another 269 people were under medical observation, according to the regional health commission, which reported 12 other asymptomatic cases as of noon Saturday.

The city released an emergency response plan on Friday to analyze confirmed cases and asymptomatic infections, state broadcaster CCTV reported, adding that the government will carry out epidemiological investigations to trace the source of the infection.

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"The epidemic situation is generally controllable," Rui said, quoted by state media.

Including the 16 cases in Urumqi, China reported 22 new infections on the mainland as of July 17, up from 10 the previous day, the health authority said on Saturday. Another six were imported cases.

As of Friday, mainland China had 83,644 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the health authority. The number of Covid-19 deaths remained at 4,334.
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