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21 Jul 2020 | 10:42 AM UTC

China: Authorities declare "wartime state" for Urumqi (Xinjiang region) July 18 /update 75

China News Alert

Government declares "wartime state" in Urumqi (Xinjiang region) due to COVID-19 on July 18; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/20/2020, 10:00 PM until 8/21/2020, 9:59 PM (Asia/Urumqi). COUNTRY/REGION Urumqi, Xinjiang

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Event

Authorities declared a "wartime state" in Urumqi (Xinjiang region) on Saturday, July 18, placing the city under a strict lockdown, due to spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city. The city is implementing similar, but stricter, restrictions to the ones imposed in Beijing in June following a recent outbreak, which comprised of a swift lockdown accompanied by mass testing and contact tracing. In addition to these measures, Urumqi locked down all residential areas of the city, forbidding residents to leave their housing compounds. Hotels and shopping centers were also ordered to close and the city's metro line suspended operations until further notice. Almost 90 percent of flights have been canceled since Friday, July 17. All public gatherings are banned and those willing to leave the city must present a negative COVID-19 test.

The decision comes after 16 of the country's 22 cases recorded on Friday were identified in Urumqi. The first COVID-19 cases in the region in five months were confirmed on Thursday, July 16, when ten cases were reported and at least 269 people had been put under medical observation.

As of Tuesday, July 21, there have been 85,314 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 4644 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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