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China removes two officials in locked-down Xi’an

BEIJING (AFP) – New coronavirus cases in China’s locked-down city of Xi’an edged down yesterday, official data showed, while local authorities removed two senior officials to “strengthen” their fight against COVID.

Beijing has pursued a “zero COVID” approach with tight border restrictions and targetted lockdowns since the virus first emerged, but this strategy has come under pressure with recent local outbreaks.

The northern city of Xi’an, home to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, has become the latest epicentre with authorities ordering all 13 million residents to stay home and several rounds of mass testing in recent weeks.

Xi’an reported 90 new cases yesterday, down from 122 cases a day before. Since December 9, 2021 there have been more than 1,600 virus cases reported in the city.

“We have entered a general state of attack,” said provincial official Liu Guozhong according to an official notice, adding that it was necessary to achieve the goal of clearing society of coronavirus cases as soon as possible.

On Sunday, Xi’an announced that two senior officials from the Yanta district had been removed from their posts, according to local media, in a bid to “strengthen the work of epidemic prevention and control” in the area.

Last month, China’s disciplinary body announced that dozens of officials were punished for “insufficient rigour in preventing and controlling the outbreak”.

Local residents told media in recent days that they were struggling to find enough food, despite Chinese authorities insisting they were working to ensure stable supplies.

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