China-Mongolia border town tightens lockdown controls to curb spread of COVID-19
A medical worker disinfects facilities at a residential area of Alxa League’s Ejina Banner, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Oct. 20, 2021. Photo: Xinhua
The Ejin Banner in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which borders Mongolia to the north and is in the spotlight for being the suspected source of the virus in the latest COVID-19 outbreaks, has tightened management lockdown for stranded tourists and local residents. It comes after the city fired the Party leader for dereliction of duty.
Dai Qin, the new Party leader of Ejin following the dismissal of former leader Chen Zhanyun on Tuesday, stressed on Wednesday the seriousness, complexity and extreme urgency of the current epidemic prevention and control work. Qin pledged to resolutely curb the spread of the virus which has already spread to more than 11 provinces across China.
The flow of people into the city will be strictly managed under the new lockdown policy which requires all residents to stay indoors, and public security departments will deploy police forces and step up patrols on the streets, residential areas and settlement points for stranded tourists, Dai noted. .
For anyone who disobeys the rules and goes out without permission, local authorities will strictly follow a “see one, catch one” manner and pursue their legal responsibilities according to law.
Echoing the lockdown policy, all city officials will work from home to avoid cross-infection in the workplace, according to a notice from the banner government’s WeChat account on Wednesday.
Inner Mongolia reported 12 new cases on Tuesday, 11 of which were from the Ejin. On Wednesday, the number of contaminations in Inner Mongolia reached 110, including 89 in this Sino-Mongolian border city of only 30,000 inhabitants.
Ejin is known for its populated Euphratic Forest, which has become a popular tourist destination, especially in autumn. According to local authorities, the number of tourists stranded in the city has reached 9,412 people, almost half of whom are people over the age of 60.
It should be noted that at least seven confirmed cases in the city were linked to a local port, a deputy director of the Inner Mongolia disease control and prevention center revealed.
Chinese health authorities have confirmed that the latest epidemic resurgence in China was of the Delta variant, imported from overseas. Although no specific source was given, current epidemiological reports suggest that many confirmed patients have visited or worked at Ejin Port.
To make up for the losses, the local government limited hotel prices to 200 yuan ($31) per night, less than half the price in this period compared to previous years.
Ejin on Sunday announced tough sanctions against six officials, including the heads of the local health commission, for their lax response and ineffective management since COVID-19 broke out on Oct. 17.