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Entire Chinese Province of Henan Under Partial Lockdown, Affecting 110 Million People

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Published: January 6, 2022
Residents queue to receive COVID-19 coronavirus tests as part of a mass testing programme in Zhengzhou, in China's central Henan province on Jan. 5, 2022. (Image: STR/CNS/AFP via Getty Images)

The central Chinese province of Henan was placed on a “partial lockdown” by its local government officials on Wednesday, Jan. 5. As an outbreak of COVID-19 strikes the province, the lockdown ceases travel and public movement for a week.

Closing Henan

According to the state-run news outlet, The Global Times, the local government of Henan declared a “partial lockdown” on Wednesday to curb the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic after an outbreak emerged in the province.

Lockdown mandates were placed on several cities in the province, including Yuzhou, Shangqiu and Zhengzhou. A campaign of mass testing and restrictions across the Henan province has resulted in identifying around 64 new infections as of Thursday, Jan. 6, most of them coming from the city of Xuchang.

Despite three positive cases being recorded, all of them asymptomatic, in the city of Yuzhou, those who live there were ordered not to leave town on Jan. 2 as heavy restrictions were being put into effect. 

A government statement released on Tuesday reads that, for every two days, households in Yuzhou were only allowed to “send one person to shop for daily necessities” at certain locations, Reuters reported.

According to CCP secretary of Xuchang, Shi Genzhi, the source of the outbreak in Yuzhou was still undetermined.

“The task of prevention and control of the virus remains difficult and demanding,” Shi said.

Henan’s capital of Zhengzhou, which is home to 12.6 million people, was placed under a much stricter lockdown on Jan. 3 after two positive cases of COVID-19 were found in mahjong rooms, funerals and family gatherings. 

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), mass testing started on Wednesday after the first case was identified on Monday, with over 990,000 people tested afterwards. As a result, six infections were reported on Thursday.

In addition to stay-at-home orders, residents were told not to leave Zhengzhou unless it was necessary.

The Global Times also reported that Zhengzhou cut off its bus and taxi services, with “shopping malls, museums and tourist attractions” also closed off.

In Shangqiu, a notice was issued, informing its residents that they are not allowed to leave the city “for non-essential reasons.” Those who wish to get the approval of the CCP’s officials in Henan for business or medical purposes must prove they have tested negative for the coronavirus within “48 hours of their intended departure time.”

The restrictions imposed seem to be working in the northwestern city of Xi’an, which was placed under lockdown for two weeks after three cases were reported. The city’s deputy mayor, Xu Mingfei, said that it has “basically achieved” zero social transmission, but has not confirmed when the lockdown will finally finish.

The outbreak and the resulting restrictions have since taken its toll on the people of Xi’an. Recently, several hospital employees were laid off or suspended, after a case of a stillborn baby, when its mother was denied entry to the hospital when her test was considered invalid. With the suspension of transport systems, the city also suffered a food shortage that plunged citizens into desperation prompting them to barter their earthly possessions for mere food.

In the city of Shanxi, after a train station turnstile was tested positive, officials warned citizens to “stay inside” while schools and other businesses were to cease operations on Thursday.

Overall, throughout mainland China, over 102,932 “confirmed symptomatic cases” were reported as of Jan. 4, both local and imported ones. Despite the reported cases, it is reported that there were no new deaths.