China battles new outbreak in far west Xinjiang

Beijing: The number of confirmed cases in a new COVID-19 outbreak in China’s far west has risen to 17.

The National Health Commission said Saturday that 16 more cases were identified in the previous 24 hours in the Xinjiang region, on top of a first case.

The outbreak in the city of Urumqi is the latest to pop up since China largely contained the domestic spread of the virus in March. The largest was a recent outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people.

Authorities in Urumqi have reduced subways, buses and taxis and closed off some residential communities, according to Chinese media reports. They also placed restrictions on people leaving the city, including a suspension of subway service to the airport.

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China has been accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the homeland of the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic community. The region has long been blanketed with extreme security, which China says is necessary to prevent terrorist activity.

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