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January 20, 2022

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Xi’an partially resumes public transport as virus rules eased

The Chinese megacity of Xi’an has partially resumed public transport, according to official announcements, after millions were locked down at their homes for weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak.

The easing of transport rules — including the resumption of some inter-city train routes — comes just before the Lunar New Year holiday later this month, traditionally a period of mass travel.

China has pursued a strict “zero-Covid” approach to containing the virus, with tight border restrictions and targeted lockdowns.

Some 13 million Xi’an residents were placed in lockdown in mid-December as cases spiked, but the historic city reported no new local cases yesterday for the first time in weeks.

Local authorities said public transport had resumed in “low-risk” areas from Tuesday.

Trains from Xi’an to popular destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have “basically resumed operations” as well, China Central Television said yesterday.

CCTV added that the number of commuters at the city’s train stations — mainly students and migrant workers — was increasing as well.

The absence of cases suggests the current outbreak is coming under control.

But other outbreaks involving both the Delta and Omicron variants have since appeared in Beijing, the eastern port city of Tianjin and the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong.

With several local cases reported in Beijing, schools have started their Lunar New Year holidays earlier than expected, according to reports.


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