As a new COVID-19 outbreak sees community cases rise, the Chinese city of Xian has implemented strict restrictions on outbound travel and commuting within the city, placing its 13 million citizens on lockdown.

Since December 17, the daily count of domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections with confirmed symptoms in Xian has risen for six days in a row. In Xian, no infection caused by the Omicron variant has been discovered.

Xian has made it difficult for citizens to leave, in keeping with Beijing's view that no flare-up should be allowed to spread. Those who wish to travel outside of the city must first test negative for COVID-19 and obtain clearance from their employers or community-level authorities.

The city has halted long-distance bus service, banned taxis and cars booked through ride-hailing platforms for out-of-town journeys, and stationed police at highway exits to deter people planning to leave.

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Beginning Thursday, only one person in each Xian household will be allowed to go out for necessary shopping every two days, while other family members must stay home unless they have essential employment.

All domestic flights to and from Xian scheduled for Thursday have been cancelled, while outbound flights from Xian are still available for Friday. At least two rounds of mass testing have taken place in the city.

Other nearby regions, such as Sichuan province and Chongqing city, required persons who had recently visited Xian to be quarantined for up to 14 days before being allowed to travel freely.

According to a statement issued by the National Health Commission on Wednesday, mainland China confirmed a total of 71 local symptomatic cases, including 63 in Xian. There were no new fatalities, keeping the total national death toll at 4,636.