Disinfection in China's Xi'an triggers controversy

Disinfection in Covid-hit China's Xi'an triggers controversy

The latest outbreak in China has affected 21 cities in 15 provinces and regions

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

The city-wide disinfection implemented in the Covid-hit Xi'an in China's Shaanxi province, which is part of the government measures to control the recent outbreak, has triggered an online controversy, Global Times reported.

The latest outbreak in China has affected 21 cities in 15 provinces and regions, including Shaanxi, Guangdong province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as of Monday evening, the media reported.

Videos and pictures of disinfection teams operating on the streets of Xi'an were widely circulated online after the anti-pandemic command of the city government announced that the mass disinfection had started on Sunday afternoon.

Also Read | China's Xi'an imposes 'strictest' controls to halt Covid outbreak

Some said disinfecting the entire city may lack scientific support and go against the anti-pandemic guidance by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which says disinfection should be confined to places where those with Covid-19 had visited, the report said.

Zhuang Shilihe, an expert based in Guangzhou, told the Global Times on Monday that Covid-19 is a respiratory infectious disease that transmits through human-to-human physical contact. The outdoor disinfection doesn't work on Covid-19, it can also cause damage to the ecological environment.

Prior to the city-wide disinfection, the anti-epidemic command warned the public to close their windows, remove clothes from clotheslines, and avoid touching the outer surfaces of buildings and plants.

Also Read | China locks down city as Covid cases surge around the world

Videos showed teams in Xi'an disinfecting streets around the Drum Tower, a landmark of the city.

A Beijing-based immunologist who asked for anonymity said disinfecting outdoor facilities is hardly effective in an open environment and it's also money-consuming, the report said.

From December 9 until 26, Xi'an has reported a total of 651 confirmed cases.

Xi'an was previously accused of having relatively poor city governance as the local implementation of the country's strategy of pursuing a dynamic zero-case situation was plagued with problems, such as ambiguous epidemiological studies and a crashed health code system, the report said.

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