The major Chinese city of Xi’an was put in partial lockdown Wednesday after officials detected the first coronavirus cases tied to a new fast-moving variant, sparking ugly reminders of a monthlong shutdown last winter.
Xi’an, which is home to 13 million people, found 18 infections from Saturday to Monday from the BA.5.2 subvariant, according to CNN.
The subvariant of BA.5, a strain that is becoming dominant in the U.S., may evade some antibody responses from vaccines or previous infection.
Officials shut down performance halls, cinemas, bars and other venues. They suspended weddings and closed houses of worship, and schools were told to start summer vacation early.
The communist government in China is deploying a zero-COVID policy that relies on draconian shutdowns to try and keep the virus from spreading. The U.S. and other countries have tried to live with the virus by relying on vaccines and treatments.
Xi’an’s lockdown is sure to evoke memories of a lengthy shutdown in December and January when people grumbled about food shortages and were shocked by images of pregnant women and others being denied health care.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.