The city government of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, has tightened its COVID-19 epidemic control policies in urban areas as of Wednesday, officials said.
"The transmission chain and risk sources of the latest outbreak have not been completely cut off nor effectively controlled, and the epidemic has rebounded in some urban areas," Mayor Mamat Kadir said at a news conference on Thursday.
It is because of the ease of transmission and difficulty of identifying the Omicron subvariant BA.5.2, as well as the large population density and high mobility of Urumqi. A deep understanding has been lacking about transmission characteristics, implementation of epidemic prevention measures have been inaccurate and quarantine control has been subpar, he added.
"According to the requirements of epidemic prevention and control, as well as actual conditions, different measures will be implemented in different regions," he said. "Residents in high-risk areas have been asked to stay at home while residents in medium-risk areas are forbidden to leave their residential communities."
Stricter epidemic controls have been implemented in low-risk areas, including the suspension of office work for all levels of government, enterprises and institutions. The suspension of public transportation and restrictions on the movement of people and private cars across urban areas are being imposed, and wearing N95 masks for protection is urged, Kadir said.
"In recent days, positive infections were detected successively in low-risk areas, and the number of positive infections were found to be elevated in medium- and high-risk areas," he said. "Infection clusters have occurred in residential communities and cross-infections have been found in urban areas and spreading to other areas outside Xinjiang."
He added that analysis from experts showed there is high risk of the virus spreading in multiple chains in residential communities.
The region reported 96 local asymptomatic carriers on Thursday, including 45 in Urumqi, 25 in Yining, six in Wusu , nine in Turpan and 11 in Korla, the region's Health Commission said on Friday.
As of Thursday, there were 506 asymptomatic carriers in the region, the commission said.