Xi'an shuts down to avoid COVID 'explosion'
Businesses, schools and restaurants in Xi'an will close for one week, officials said Tuesday, after the Chinese city logged a handful of COVID-19 cases.
Xi'an - a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year - has reported 18 cases since Saturday in a cluster driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to official notices.
City official Zhang Xuedong said at a Tuesday press conference that Xi'an would implement "seven-day temporary control measures" that would "allow society to quieten down as much as possible, reduce mobility... and cut the risk of cross-infection."
"We must race against both time and the virus... to guard against all possible risks and hidden dangers, and decisively avoid an explosion in community spreading," Zhang said.
Public entertainment venues including pubs, internet cafes and karaoke bars would shut their doors from midnight on Wednesday, the city government said in a notice.
Restaurants will not be allowed to serve diners indoors but may continue to offer takeaway services, it said.
Schools are to start the summer holiday early and universities will seal off their campuses.