More than 21 million people are under a Covid lockdown in Chengdu after a fresh outbreak was detected in the Chinese city, the media reported.
On Thursday, Chengdu, the capital of the southern Sichuan province, reported 157 new Covid-19 cases, including 51 asymptomatic, the BBC reported.
The lockdown came into effect on Thursday, with residents being asked to remain indoors while just one person per household has been allowed to step out for essential shopping.
Authorities have also imposed a ban on people leaving or entering the city as health officials have termed the current situation as “extremely complex and severe” and blamed the outbreak on mass gatherings.
Mass testing will begin in the coming days, the BBC said but added that there was no immediate information on when the lockdown will end.
This latest development is in line with China’s “zero Covid policy” require cities to enter strict lockdowns, even if just a handful of cases are reported.
In March, China imposed its largest lockdown in Shanghai which lasted for two months and led to widespread reports of food shortages and poor living conditions in quarantine centres, the BBC reported.
Wuhan, the city where the virus originated in late 2019, went into a lockdown in July after the discovery of four positive cases.
Other restrictions currently in force elsewhere in China include Shenzhen in the south and Dalian in the north-east.
Although the Covid pandemic originated in China, the country so far has reported a total of 243,822 cases and 5,226 deaths, way less than the worst-hit countries like the US, Brazil and India.