The city of Xi'an, the provincial capital with a larger population than NYC, has been locked down, Wuhan-style, for more than a week now, and it's residents are starting to get restless thanks to a shortage of available foodstuffs. But any citizens who hope to escape what's shaping up to be a brutal lockdown will find the authorities to be less than understanding.
According to Bloomberg, Beijing is punishing people who are trying to evade the latest COVID lockdown in Xi’an as a top official urged "forceful moves" be taken to curb the outbreak.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said local authorities need to adopt more "targeted and forceful" measures and improve quarantine controls, according to a report in the official Xinhua News Agency. China reported 166 local confirmed cases for that day, 161 of them in the city.
The situation in Xi’an is "severe and complex," Sun supposedly said during a visit. Sun, the only woman on the ruling Communist Party’s 25-member Politburo, also called on the government to step up tracing efforts (although the city has undergone at least 4 rounds of mass testing over the past week).
Local police have been deputized to track down anyone attempting to duck the tight controls in Xi'an. One man who tried to wade across the Wei River to get out of town was apprehended and given a warning, police said, while another who pedaled 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) on a shared bicycle to his hometown was fined and sent to quarantine.
A man who hiked 100 kilometers from the airport to a nearby county was also sent to quarantine by police before being given an unspecified punishment.
Roads in the city have been closed to traffic as the city faces a Wuhan-style lockdown. Even factories in the city have ceased operating: Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics both said that production at factories in the city has been affected by the latest lockdown. Micron said it would be able to meet most of its customer demands for product despite the lockdown, which began on Dec. 23.