(BEIJING) — China on Friday ordered a lockdown of the 9 million residents of the northeastern city of Changchun amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases in the area attributed to the highly contagious omicron variant.
The residents are expected to stay at home and one member of the family is allowed to go out every other day to purchase food or other essentials. Each resident must go through three rounds. All non-essential business have been shut down and transportation links are suspended.
China continues to enforce its draconian pandemic response despite previous indications it might be taking more focused measures.
China reported another 397 cases of local transmission nationwide on Friday, 98 of them in Jilin province that surrounds Changchun, a center of the country’s auto industry. Since the outbreak began late last week, the number of cases has risen to 1,100 across the province.
On Friday alone, only two cases of the pandemic were reported in Changchun. This brings its current total to 78. Authorities have repeatedly pledged to lock down any community where one or more cases are found under China’s “zero tolerance” approach to the pandemic.
The nearby town of Jilin was also confirmed with 93 additional cases. It shares the same name in the province. Officials have placed a partial lockdown on the city, and cut travel links to all other nearby cities.
Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University officials were dismissed after a series of infection cases on campus. Student complaints on social media claimed that students who had tested positive for the virus were kept in poorly maintained school libraries and other locations.
According to CCTV, the school registered 74 cases and sent more than 6000 people into quarantine.
Images from the air showed students wearing hazmat suits, lining up in cold and darkness waiting for their transfer.