Temporary controls in Xi'an 'not lockdown'; residents feel impact to life 'not as big as imagined'
Published: Apr 16, 2022 03:47 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Epidemic control authorities in Northwest China's Xi'an on Saturday early morning explained that the city's temporary control measures, effective from Saturday to Tuesday, are not a "lockdown" as some people interpreted. 

Some local residents told the Global Times on Saturday that the new policy hasn't had a major impact on their lives so far.

Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province, is home to 13 million people and just withheld strict month-long restrictions from late December 2021 to January 2022 due to a COVID-19 resurgence that involved thousands of infections. The city on Friday announced "temporary controls of social activities" for four days after reporting 43 infections since April 2. 

The measures included suspending dine-in services, closing public entertainment venues, halting in-person classes for non-graduating-year students and advising residents not to leave their communities. Work from home is encouraged and those who take the subway are required a negative nucleic acid test report taken within 48 hours. 

The controls were interpreted by some people as a "city lockdown" and prompted some panic as the city just experienced tough days at the beginning of 2022. But local epidemic control authorities quickly clarified that the controls are meant to reduce personnel mobility and risks of infections without impact on normal lives and production. 

Residents who really need to go out of their communities should scan health codes and have temperatures taken and register their outbound activities, health officials said. 

Supermarkets, convenient stores, farms' markets and hospitals are open as normal with stricter epidemic control measures such as sterilization and setting visitors' cap. The measures aim to extinguish "sparks" of resurgence as soon as possible to achieve dynamic zero, they said. 

A resident from Baqiao district surnamed Yao told the Global Times on Saturday that she ordered a large amount of food Friday night as she was afraid the controls would be very strict considering the situation in Shanghai. 

But so far, the community has not had many restrictions on going outside except requiring people to scan a QR code and have their temperatures taken. Delivery people are not allowed to enter the community, Yao said. "I didn't feel major changes except people stood more apart during the mass nucleic acid testing in the morning." 

Xi'an has been conducting nucleic acid testing for its residents based on levels of risks in the past few days to identify potential carriers.

Another Xi'an resident surnamed Liu said his community checked his latest nucleic acid test stickers and health codes before letting him out. "Stores are open on streets but restaurants have no eaters for the new policy. I bought some barbecue and fresh vegetables." 

A Gaoxin district housewife who required anonymity told the Global Times she was advised not to go outside in the morning. "I planned to hoard some more food after failing to do so last night, as I have a big family to take care of. But the community worker said the controls won't last long and if I still have food, I'd better stay home."

The resident learned that residents who have urgent needs are allowed to go out. "If I had no food at home or it is someone who needs to see a doctor, they [community workers] would have allowed to leave."

Yao said her company instructed them to work from home on Monday and Tuesday. 

Others reached by the Global Times on Saturday said controls were not as strict as they had imagined earlier, but they did worry a lot after the policy was announced due to some "lockdown PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)."

Yao was never in short of food even in December and January, but the first thing she did last night after seeing the controls was ordering food on several platforms which can suffice herself and her roommate for at least two weeks. 

There are some inconveniences, but if such methods can ensure Xi'an won't face what Shanghai is experiencing - longer and stricter lockdowns, the inconvenience is worthwhile, the housewife said.