Restrictions to lift in some parts of Xinjiang capital


Public transport including railways, civil aviation, buses and taxis will gradually resume service in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, from Monday now that the city has cleared confirmed COVID-19 cases at the community level, the city government announced.

Flights from Urumqi to Changsha, Sanya, Zhengzhou and Chongqing will be among the first to resume. Civil aviation services to other cities will be restored at a later date, Sui Rong, head of the city's publicity department, told a news conference in Urumqi on Sunday.

"Also, to resume ordinary life in low-risk areas, supermarkets, markets, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations and banks will be allowed to reopen once their premises are thoroughly disinfected," she said.

Urumqi recorded two new local confirmed cases and 112 asymptomatic cases on Saturday.

On Saturday, Sui confirmed that people who have been allowed to go out of their homes and move around in the community for three days can now leave their community and resume activity in low-risk areas of the district or county.

Many parts of Xinjiang have been locked down to contain the COVID-19 outbreak there since August. As the outbreak has gradually been contained, cities including Shihezi and Korla also announced on Sunday that the epidemic control measures will be eased from the same day by resuming some public transport services and reopening some shops and restaurants.

Also on Saturday, Ma Xingrui, Party chief of Xinjiang, told a meeting that there is still the possibility that infections may rebound in Urumqi, so epidemic control measures shouldn't be loosened. The city must step up efforts to completely clear local cases so that people can gradually go back to living a normal life.

He also said people who spread rumors or violently resist epidemic control measures will be severely punished in accordance with the law.

The region must focus on helping self-employed people and those on low incomes who have been badly affected by the epidemic. Measures to provide financial aid, reduce or exempt bills including water and electricity must be introduced so they feel they have been cared for, Ma said.

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