Yuzhou, which has a population of 1.1 million, officially shutdown overnight, stalling transportation systems except for all but essential food stores.
Xi’an, where 13 million have been confined to their homes since December 23, continued to be closed down ahead of the Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics in Beijing due to COVID spikes.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin assured reporters China had “formulated an efficient and highly effective defense system.”
Stories on social media are circulating with reports of people trying to get into hospitals to receive medical attention but have been turned away for not having an up-to-date COVID-19 test result.
A post on social media described one account of a pregnant woman who experienced stomach pains on New Year’s Day and went to seek medical care, yet was not allowed entry into the hospital.
The woman’s niece posted a video online which was taken by the woman’s husband. The video showed the pregnant woman sitting on a pink plastic stool outside of the hospital waiting to be let in when she started bleeding.
Medical staff saw blood pooling at her feet and allowed the woman into the hospital for treatment. However, the fetus was already dead by the time she received care, according to the post.
Chinese journalist Jiang Xue, who is among the minority under lockdown in Xi’an, wrote in an essay widely shared this week:
“We must be willing to make any sacrifice [to stop the virus]. This line is true enough, but each person should consider: are we the ‘we’ in this statement, or are we the ‘sacrifice’?”
Several other cities in the province have ordered mass testing, shut public venues and restricted or suspended intercity travel, despite only small numbers of cases being detected.
Officials haven’t given a specific date for the lifting of the lockdown.