China records the highest death toll from Corona in 4 months

China reported 140 new infections with the emerging coronavirus, today, Saturday, the highest number recorded in four months, while the authorities are working to contain the outbreak of the disease in several regions, including the city of Xi'an, where millions of people are subject to quarantine.

Of the 140 new infections, 87 were transmitted locally, according to a statement issued by the National Health Committee, while the number was 55 the day before.

Most of the injuries were recorded in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, in northwest China, where 13 million people were quarantined since Thursday.

China has declared a state of high alert as it prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February in the capital, Beijing.

After the number of cases has been reduced to a minimum thanks to the "zero Covid" strategy that includes border controls, lengthy quarantines and targeted closures, cases have doubled in recent weeks.

Chinese public television footage on Saturday showed long queues outside testing centers in the city of Xi'an as authorities stepped up efforts to stem the outbreak.

Under strict containment rules, as of Thursday, families in Xi'an are only allowed to send one person abroad every two days to purchase basic necessities.

Residents also need to obtain special permission from their employer or local authorities to leave the city.

Xi'an has recorded 330 locally transmitted asymptomatic infections since the first case was reported on December 9, 2021, a small number compared to outbreaks elsewhere in the world.

But China's Disciplinary Authority said Friday that 26 Xi'an government officials had been sanctioned for failing to prevent the virus.

Local authorities believed to have failed to control the virus in their area are being fired or reprimanded as part of Beijing's tough approach to fighting the epidemic.

Xi'an's infections have so far spread to five other cities including Beijing, according to state media, raising concerns about the rapid spread of the virus in the country.

China has reported 100,871 asymptomatic infections and less than 5,000 deaths since the virus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.

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