China finds 16 new virus cases in Xinjiang as capital under lockdown

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Travelers wear face masks as a screen shows a video about the proper way to wear a mask at the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The U.S. advised against all travel to China on Friday after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a new virus that has spread to more than a dozen countries a global emergency. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

by Babatunde Abdulfatah
Beijing, July 18, 2020 (dpa/NAN) China’s western Xinjiang region saw a spike in coronavirus cases this week, with 16 new cases reported by midnight Friday, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang and home to 3.5 million people, has been on lockdown since Thursday after one patient tested positive midweek and four were found to be asymptomatic, according to Chinese news outlet ‘The Paper’.

Since then, a handful of cases have emerged.

Transportation, including flights and trains in Urumqi, has also been suspended, the Paper said.

China has largely brought the coronavirus pandemic under control, but a small number of infections continue, according to official government figures.

There are currently 252 active cases nationwide, according to the NHC.

The new cases in Xinjiang were the only local reported transmissions in China on Friday, which also reported six imported cases the same day.

China is currently in the midst of mass surveillance and internment campaign against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including ethnic Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims.

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