The Chinese city of Xi'an intensifies its lockdown and closes its international airport

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A man is swabbed for a COVID-19 test at a residential area in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China on January 4. Xi'an, which is home to 13 million people, has been under lockdown measures since December 23, 2021.
  • China is ramping up the intensity of its Covid lockdown on Xi'an, barring international travelers from landing.
  • The Xi'an Xianyang International Airport was closed to travelers from January 5. 
  • Xi'an, home to 13 million people, has been under a strict lockdown since December 23.
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China is ramping up the intensity of its Covid-19 lockdown on the northwest city of Xi'an, closing its international airport and barring travelers from entry altogether. 

The city of 13 million first locked down on December 23, after recording around 1,000 Covid-19 cases between December 9 and December 23.

Chinese state-owned media Xinhua News first announced the total shutdown of international travel into Xi'an.

According to Xinhua News, sources within the Xi'an Xianyang International Airport confirmed that per instructions from the Chinese government, the airport has temporarily ceased operations as of January 5 until further notice. 

This is an update to Xi'an city's current lockdown status, where domestic inbound and outbound flights have all been canceled, per Xinhua News. 

Xi'an is one of several Chinese cities to come under harsh lockdown measures in recent weeks. The southern city of Dongxing, home to 200,000, was also locked down on December 23, though lockdown measures were progressively lifted from January 3. Meanwhile, Yuzhou, a central Chinese city home to 1.2 million people, was locked down this week after three asymptomatic cases were detected. 

Xi'an reported nearly 1,800 Covid-19 infections since the start of its recent outbreak. However, Chinese health officials told the Associated Press that they have mostly managed to halt community transmission of the Covid-19 virus and that recent cases were detected amongst those who have already been quarantined. 

But the reduced Covid numbers have come at a price; many Xi'an residents say they're running out of food. Stories have emerged from the city of starving people bartering food supplies amid food shortages

China's overall reported Covid-19 cases remain relatively low. According to the country's National Health Commission, 189 infections were detected across 31 provinces on January 5, bringing the number of active cases to 3,282. Shaanxi province reported 63 cases on Wednesday, with the country's health authorities noting that most of the cases were detected within Xi'an city. 

China is now less than a month out from the Beijing Olympics, which are set to kick off on February 4. The country plans to implement a "closed-loop" bubble, where athletes, officials, broadcasters, and journalists alike will be able to move only within designated locales. 

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