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Xi’an Sets Up Makeshift Hospitals to Contain Outbreak; Residents Complain of Food Shortages Under Lockdown

Juliet Wei covers China news and U.S.-China relations and has worked as a correspondent with Senate and House Correspondent Credential at Washington DC. She holds an M.A. in Specialized Journalism from the University of Southern California.
Published: January 1, 2022
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Samsung Electronics Industrial Park in Chang'an District, Xi’an is rushing to work day and night to build Cabin Hospital(Image: Screenshot Twitter)

The COVID-19 outbreak in Xi’an city has become increasingly severe. According to videos and photos posted on Twitter, Xi’an constructed the “Fang Cang (mobile Cabin) Hospital” practically overnight.  These are quarantine buildings like those that were built during the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan city.  

A video posted to Twitter at 4:00 am on Jan. 1, 2022, reads,  “When all construction finishes, it will be china’s largest quarantine camp which can hold more than 10,000 people.”

Xi’an constructed the “Fang Cang (mobile Cabin) Hospital” practically overnight(Image: Screenshot Twitter)

The tweets also state that approximately 300 to 400 workers were working to build the mobile cabin hospital, close to Xi’an Aeronautical University.

Another video posted around the same time reads, “Aerial view of this new covid quarantine camp. The first phase of the construction of this project that can hold 2,450 people is almost completed.”

Another tweet reads, “Authorities started to send people off to this new covid quarantine camp with buses in the small hours of the morning. There were no comforters or blankets at all.  2022/1/1 3am”

People have been sent to the new covid quarantine hospital. There were no comforters or blankets yet. (Image: Screenshot Twitter)

According to an official announcement on Dec. 29, there were 155 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the region, 24 of which were from the Xi’an Aviation University

On Dec. 31, according to a media report,  “the university has been transferring infected students since Dec. 27. More than 2,000 students and teachers have been sent to other counties and cities.”

According to those reports, Xi’an has ordered public security units to deploy more than 20,000 police in accordance with the model of “one district, one police” or “one district with multiple police plus auxiliary police” to tighten its control of people and vehicles. These measures are to make sure that people stay at home, do not get together, and maintain order in the COVID-19 sampling and testing sites.  

On Dec. 23, the Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters Office in Xi’an imposed lockdowns after the detection of several cases. Only one designated person per household was allowed to leave the house every two days to buy groceries and supplies for the family. 

On Dec. 27,  the city further escalated its level of lockdown and restrictions. Xi’an residents were no longer allowed to leave their homes except for COVID-19 testing.  There are more and more residents in Xi’an who have difficulty buying food and are starving, waiting for food to be delivered and allocated.

Food delivery companies are waiting 

Since the escalated prevention and control measures were enacted on Dec.27, all personnel in food delivery companies have also been locked down, unable to go out and deliver.

Around 150 medical staff from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force have been dispatched to Xi’an to help out. 

According to Soho news, in Xi’an, before the COVID-19 outbreak, one delivery company had more than 60 vehicles in operation. After the outbreak, the company reduced its fleet to about 30 vehicles. They had to take 30 trips every day to provide delivery services to at least 300 communities.

After Dec.27, vehicles that are not for epidemic prevention and livelihood supply, are not allowed to get on the road. The public security and epidemic prevention and control departments are strictly enforcing the measures. Starting on the 27th, all delivery fleets have also been suspended. To resume delivery, they must obtain a pass issued by the government’s Epidemic Prevention Office.

The pass processing began on Dec. 28. It requires delivery companies to send their business license and the distribution contract signed with the e-commerce platform to the Epidemic Prevention Office for review and approval, and the number of approvals is limited. 

At present, the person in charge of one such delivery fleet is communicating with the authorities and preparing to provide relevant materials before Dec. 30.

The shortage of delivery staff directly resulted in a shortage of supplies and materials. According to Soho news, on the evening of Dec. 29, one announcement was sent to a chat group in Gaoxin District, it says, “No group buys of vegetables today. Stocks have been piled up for days. Short of Drivers so cannot deliver.”  

On the afternoon of Dec. 29, Chen Jianfeng, the deputy director of the Xi’an Municipal Bureau of Commerce, said that the main reason for the current supply of living materials being impacted is the low rate of employee attendance. Chen said that they would manage to solve the problems to ensure essential employees go back to work and help them get the vehicle pass,  Soho news reported.

More read: 

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