Residents locked down in China’s largest cities fear they will starve if they can’t go outside to purchase food. The harsh Covid laws were triggered by just a handful of cases.

On Monday, 13 million people were told by Apparatchiks in Xi’an that they can only leave their houses if invited to participate in a fresh round of mass-testing or for emergency medical care.

One member from each household had been allowed to go shopping once per week. According to city officials, people from ‘low-risk’ areas would be permitted out to shop for essentials after their testing is completed.

Xi’an had 175 reported cases on Tuesday. It is a low number compared to large cities across the globe, but a serious blow to China that continues to implement a ‘zero Covid’ strategy despite more infectious variants.

The flare-up has also affected nearby cities, Yan’an (about 185 miles away from Xi’an) shutting down businesses on Tuesday and ordering people to remain indoors in one district. 

Xi'an has told 13million residents they cannot leave home even for food as a new round of Covid testing is carried out in the city amid an outbreak

Xi’an told the 13 million residents that they can’t leave their home, even to eat, as a new round in Covid testing was conducted in the city. This is amid an epidemic

People in Xi'an face 10 days in police detention and fines of $75 if they leave their home for any reason other than to get tested (pictured) or for a medical emergency

In Xi’an, people can be held for up to 10 day in jail and subject to fines of $75 if left their homes for reasons other than being tested (pictured).

Xi'an on Tuesday reported 175 Covid cases, its highest toll of the current outbreak, pushing up China's seven-day average of cases to its highest level this year (pictured above)

Xi’an, China’s highest-ever toll from the current Covid outbreak, reported 175 Covid patients on Tuesday.

Some residents in Xi’an turned to social media as a way to help themselves, claiming they were’starving’. 

One person wrote that he was about to starve to death on Weibo in China, China’s version of Facebook. ‘There’s no food. My housing compound won’t allow me to leave, and I’m running out of instant noodles. Please, help! 

One person said, “I don’t want to hear anymore about how everything is perfect.” “So what, supplies can be so plentiful – but they are useless if not given to the people.  

The Delta variant is responsible for the Xi’an outbreak. It is thought to have been linked to travel to Pakistan a few weeks ago.

Since Thursday, the city was under lockdown after mass testing showed that a single case of the virus had been released from quarantine. The virus has since spread throughout the region.

Xi’an reported 810 Covid cases so far this month – China’s biggest outbreak since the virus was first discovered in Wuhan.

China’s most significant lockdown of 13 million people is the largest in China since Wuhan, which was held early 2020 and affected 11million. 

City workers disinfect public spaces in Xi'an, as residents were warned not to touch anything immediately afterwards to allow chemicals time to disperse

Xi’an’s public spaces were disinfected by city workers. Residents were told not to touch the items right away to let chemicals disperse.

The city sent workers to clean public spaces on Sunday. Residents were advised not to touch the chemical mixtures until it has dissolved.

On Monday night, lockdown regulations were tightened as mass testing began in a fifth round.

Testing has so far revealed that there have been cases in the entire city, as well as across different age groups. This raises concerns about the possibility of more cases.

Xian residents are not allowed to leave the area without permission of their employers or local authorities since last week.

Except for those vehicles that are used to control viruses and protect people’s lives, there will no longer be any cars allowed on the streets starting Monday. Violators could end up spending as much as 10 days in jail and 500 Yuan ($78.48).

On Monday, the city advised residents not to go home until they have given samples for a second round of testing. If the results are negative, people in safer areas will be allowed to shop for necessities.

Police said that anyone who does not follow testing rules, such as keeping one meter from another in the queues, can be detained and fined. 

Dongyan Jin from the University of Hong Kong is a virologist. He said mass disinfection of surfaces and air outside seemed incongruous given the low likelihood of someone catching COVID-19 on outdoor surfaces, or that there were so few people out.

Xi'an has been under lockdown since last week when mass testing revealed a case of Delta had escaped hotel quarantine and spread widely across the city (pictured, empty streets)

Xi’an was placed under lockdown last week after mass testing found that a Delta-positive case had escaped the quarantine at the hotel and spread to other parts of the city. (Photo: Streets empty)

Xi'an residents had been allowed out of their homes once every two days to buy food, but that rule has now been scrapped until the latest round of mass testing is over (file image)

Residents in Xi’an had previously been permitted to go out once per two days for food shopping, but this rule was scrapped by the new mass testing.

China is continuing to pursue a 'zero Covid' strategy, with observers saying that is unlikely to change at least until the Winter Olympics is over (pictured, a deserted Xi'an)

China continues to follow a ‘zero Covid’ strategy. Observers say that this is not likely to change until at least the Winter Olympics. (pictured: a deserted Xi’an).

Jin said, “This is shooting mosquitoes using cannon,” but he stated that he believes disinfection indoor surfaces was essential, particularly in areas visited by people infected with the disease.

The infection was also found in Shaanxi Province, in which is the same province of Xian. It has been reported in Guangxi Region and Sichuan provinces.

China remains one of the few nations that still follow the ‘zero Covid strategy. It involves locking down in the case of any national spread and remaining locked down until the cases fall to zero, even in the presence of more infectious variants.

Omicron Covid cases in this country have been confirmed. It is believed to be much more dangerous than Delta. However, they all were linked to travel. The country has never suffered an epidemic of the variant.

According to observers, the Communist Party will likely continue its “zero Covid” policy even if Omicron threatens it. This is despite Omicron’s threat that the Winter Olympics, which are scheduled for Beijing in February this year.

The Xi’an lockdown, which is also similar to Wuhan’s in size, is China’s most extensive since Wuhan’s was closed off.

CCTV reports that the city has deployed over 100,000 personnel to manage the testing and set up more than 4,400 sampling locations. 

Film footage captured masked people waiting in line to be tested at streets and centres.