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China enforces lockdowns as Covid cases spiral in Xinjiang, Tibet

Urumqi (China), Aug 18 (IANS) A sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus cases in Xinjiang has led Chinas government to send a delegation throughout the far-western region to implement Zero Covid policies, further isolating residents there, RFA reported.

As of Wednesday, Xinjiang recorded 2,779 confirmed Covid cases, with officials in the capital Urumqi designating 73 high-risk districts and imposing strict exit-entry controls due to the rising number of infections, China News Service reported.

Now officials there are administering a new Chinese medicine called ‘A Ci Fu’ to combat the virus, though the efficacy of the medicine remains unknown, sources said.

The number of Covid cases are also on the rise in the neighboring Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

As of Wednesday, the region recorded 2,911 confirmed cases, 742 more than Tuesday, according to an official count.

“People are subject to continuous testing,” said a Tibetan living in the capital Lhasa.

“The Potala Palace and other religious sites are shut down, schools have postponed their reopening, and people are stocking up on groceries and buying face masks.”

Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Lhasa and the towns of Shigatse (Xigaze) and Ngari (Ali) are trying to leave Tibet, RFA reported.

On Tuesday, the TAR’s Transportation Department announced that those who are leaving the region by air or train must take two COVID tests within 24 hours of their departure and have a certificate indicating negative results.

A Tibetan in the region told RFA that resources for the testing and prevention of the virus are being depleted due to the high number of Chinese tourists there.

Nee said that video of workers spraying down roads in Tibet with disinfectant had no scientific basis as being an effective means of preventing the coronavirus, and only serve a performative purpose to make people believe that officials are doing everything possible in terms of a Zero Covid policy to please Xi Jinping.

Though the number of cases has spiked in Tibetan cities in recent days, airports in the region, including Lhasa Gonggar Airport, have remained open and the influx of tourists has continued without restriction, RFA reported.

–IANS

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