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China brings back lockdown in city bordering Myanmar amid fourth wave of Covid-19 infections

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Lockdown restrictions have been imposed for a third time in a Chinese city near the border with Myanmar amid a resurgence of Covid-19 and the emergence of the Delta variant.

Officials in Ruili, a city of 270,000 in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, imposed travel restrictions and asked all residents to self-isolate at home, Chinese media reported.

All businesses were closed down with the exception of some markets and pharmacies, while restaurants are only allowed to offer takeout. Schools have suspended in-person classes.

According to the Global Times newspaper, this marks the third time that lockdown measures have been introduced in Ruili. The city has seen four waves of Covid-19 infections.

On Tuesday, Ruili reported 15 locally transmitted cases, Xinhua news agency said. A government source told the Global Times that the more transmissible Delta variant was found in five recent imported cases. The paper said it is unclear whether patients in locally transmitted cases had been infected with the Delta strain.

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It was previously reported that Ruili was the second city after Guangzhou in which the Delta variant was detected. 

The South China Morning Post quoted Ruili Mayor Shang Labian as saying that the city “took immediate action after receiving case reports.” He said that around 900 health workers were brought to Ruili from elsewhere to conduct testing and treat patients.

In early April, authorities launched a campaign aimed at vaccinating the entire population of Ruili. Lockdown was imposed during the same month and was partially lifted several weeks later.

On Tuesday, Chinese health officials reported 57 new cases nationwide, 42 of which were imported, and there were no deaths. 

Overall, China has recorded 91,949 infections since the start of the pandemic and 4,636 deaths. Neighboring Myanmar has seen 171,976 infections and 3,513 deaths, according to its government.

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