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China tests 2M in Beijing; lifts COVID lockdown at Xi'an

BEIJING (AP), -- Authorities in Beijing have reopened the investigation into a new outbreak of cholera. This is despite Chinese officials lifting a month-long lockdown on Xi'an, the northernmost city, and its 13,000,000 residents on Monday.

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China tests 2M in Beijing; lifts COVID lockdown at Xi'an

Despite declining case numbers, pandemic control measures have been increased ahead of the Olympics. All participants must be tested before and during their stay in Beijing.

After the discovery of over three dozen cases in the capital, testing was conducted on the 2,000,000 residents of Fengtai. Targeted testing was conducted in six districts, as well as at six residential communities.

After 25 cases of infection were discovered in Fengtai, and 14 in other areas of Beijing, the government advised residents not to leave Beijing. On Sunday, residents lined up on snow-covered sidewalks to test in freezing conditions.

According to the state-owned Global Times newspaper, Sunday's announcement by the Beijing Municipal Health Commission stated that any person who has purchased medication for fever, cough, or other infections in the last two weeks will be required to undergo a COVID-19 testing within 72 hours.

Olympics officials are subject to strict control. They are trying to protect athletes, staff, reporters, and officials from local residents. After arriving in China, athletes must be vaccinated and quarantined.

Monday's announcement by the city Xi'an followed the resumption of commercial flights to the city over the weekend. After people were forced to return to their homes, the major tourist center and former imperial capital, Terracotta Warrior, was unable to provide food for some residents during the initial days of the lockdown.

Xi'an is a keystone of the Communist Party's "zero tolerance” strategy towards COVID-19, which mandates travel restrictions, lockdowns and mass testing when a case is found.

Xi'an lies approximately 1,000 km (600 miles) to the southwest of Beijing, where there are the Olympics opening Feb. 4.

After an outbreak of coronavirus delta, access to Xi'an was halted Dec. 22.

Another outbreak prompted the government's imposition of travel bans in a number cities, including Tianjin (about an hour from Beijing). China has not reported any cases of the highly infectious Omicron variant due to its strict regulations.

China reported Monday only 18 cases of local infected, six of which were in Beijing. China currently has 2,754 cases of local infection. The country also has a total of 105660 COVID-19 cases and 4,636 deaths.

A number of provinces nearby reported cases that were linked to the outbreaks at the capital, including Hebei and Shandong provinces. A positive test result was reported by Shenyang, Liaoning province. This is also in connection with the Beijing clusters.

Monday's organizers reported that 39 of the 2,586 athletes, officials, and other passengers who arrived at Beijing airport after Jan. 4, had tested positive for the virus. The organizing committee stated that 33 more people who had entered the bubble-insulating participants from the public later tested positive.

Other than identifying those who had tested positive, the statement didn't identify any of them. It only stated that they were "outside stakeholders," which excludes coaches and athletes. China requires 21 days quarantine for all foreigners arriving in China, but waived this for Olympic athletes who tested positive for the virus.

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