China ramps up brutal 'zero Covid' lockdown with anyone seen driving JAILED as Omicron surges around the world

CHINA has ramped up its brutal "zero Covid" lockdown restrictions with anyone seen driving to be jailed after 162 cases were reported.

The city of Xi'an was raised to the "strictest" level in an effort to control the country's worst outbreak in 21 months.



It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

Although no cases of the Omicron variant have yet been detected in Xi'an, the Chinese government remains on edge that any outbreak could threaten the Winter Olympics which is being held in February.

The latest announcement from the Communist Party stated that no vehicles would be allowed on the roads unless they were assisting with disease control work.

Health officials and police will "strictly inspect" vehicles on the roads and those who break the rules could face ten days in detention and a 500 yuan fine (£58).

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Although cases are small compared to the level of infections seen in Europe, the Chinese government ordered all residents to stay at home last Thursday.

Xi'an's 13 million locals are only allowed to leave their homes for essential travel.

Beijing ordered open spaces, buildings and roads to be disinfected after 150 new cases were reported on Sunday and 155 on Saturday.

Residents were given just a few hours' notice on Sunday afternoon that a deep-clan would begin at 6pm.

Pictures from the city show trucks spraying a fog of disinfectant throughout streets while other images show workers dressed in full PPE gear spraying chemicals onto buildings and public spaces.

Since the city went into lockdown last week, authorities have launched rounds of mass testing and have placed 30,000 people in hotel quarantine.

ZERO COVID STRATEGY

All non-essential businesses have been forced to close with every household only allowed to send one person out to buy necessities every three days.

China has stuck to a "zero Covid" strategy which includes tight border restrictions and lengthy quarantines as the country prepares for the Winter Olympics in February.

Two other cities in the same province, Shaanxi, reported a case that was linked to Xi'an.

Authorities urged migrant workers from the Xi'an not to travel home for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

The outbreak of the Delta variant has caused severe symptoms in four patients, the state-run paper, Global Times, reported.

Elsewhere, the rising number of Omicron infections continues to skyrocket.

Today, Denmark and Iceland reported record daily coronavirus cases as the fast-spreading Omicron makes Europe the global hotspot for infections.

Europe recorded the most Covid-19 cases and deaths in the past seven days, according to official sources.

The five countries with the highest case rates over the last seven days were all European.

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