The World of Chinese


- – A.H.

A Covid-19 outbreak in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, has drawn public criticism over officials’ deadly mishandlin­g of the citywide lockdown that began on December 23.

Facing China’s worst outbreak since Wuhan in 2020, the Xi’an government prohibited all residents from leaving their housing compounds on December

27, but some residents reported insufficie­nt deliveries of food, sanitary products, and medicine. Several people with medical conditions from medium-risk areas were turned away from hospitals, with one man dying from a heart attack and an eight-month pregnant woman suffering a miscarriag­e. The city’s “health code” app crashed twice during the outbreak, locking people out of public buildings.

A number of local officials, including the head of the data management bureau, have been laid off or suspended for incompeten­ce, but many are calling for systematic change to the city’s inflexible pandemic policy. The outbreak, caused by the virus’s Delta variant, led to 2,188 confirmed cases.

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