China Locks Down Inner Mongolian City over Coronavirus

This photo taken on November 29, 2021 shows a resident undergoing a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Manzhouli in China's northern Inner Mongolia region. - China OUT (Photo by CNS / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/CNS/AFP via Getty Images)
STR/CNS/AFP via Getty Images

The Inner Mongolian city of Erenhot imposed travel restrictions and urged residents to remain home after three consecutive days of detecting a dozen coronavirus infections, some of them asymptomatic.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Monday that Erenhot, which has a regional population of about 75,000, has imposed “lockdown-like measures,” including orders to suspend operation for all businesses except supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical clinics.

“Local authorities said there was enough food to meet the city’s needs for more than 30 days, and supermarkets and other businesses were continuing to replenish supplies,” the SCMP reported – a necessary assurance to avoid public panic after the brutal two-month lockdown imposed on Shanghai left its residents scrambling for food and supplies.

Erenhot’s education bureau is reportedly establishing “special examination rooms” so the roughly 330 students applying for national college admission can complete their entrance exams on schedule.

The SCMP noted Inner Mongolia has already been through a Shanghai-style debacle in the regional capital of Hohhot, where “about half a dozen local officials” were fired for “failing their duties” during a coronavirus outbreak in February. The city’s vital tourism industry is still struggling to recover from the poorly-administered lockdown.

China’s state-run Global Times on Monday callously portrayed the lockdown in Shanghai as a triumph and ominously told Inner Mongolia to expect the same treatment:

Since the latest flare-up, the city has received support from various parties. 296 workers have been dispatched to assist in the medical treatment and massive testing operations. Additional 365 medical workers from the region were also sent to the city.

A total of 70 testing sites and a mobile make-shift laboratory have been set up for large-scale nucleic acid screening tests.

On Friday, Sun Shaocheng, Party secretary of Inner Mongolia, said in a video conference that Erenhot must attach great importance to epidemic prevention operations and asked local authorities to shoulder the responsibility and curb the spread of the virus at all costs.

The Global Times acknowledged that Inner Mongolia has “witnessed repeated outbreaks in the past two years, with its border city Manzhouli as a major hotspot,” but blamed “imported cases” for triggering all of these epidemics.

Meanwhile, Shanghai is still struggling to emerge from coronavirus lockdown, as is the national capital of Beijing, whose restrictions were not quite as severe – and were never described as a total lockdown, for obvious political reasons.

Restaurant dining was scheduled to resume in Beijing on Monday, along with regular work schedules and traffic patterns. Residents are still required to show clean coronavirus tests, taken within 72 hours, to access public buildings and transportation.

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