Severity: Warning Alert      

Transportation: Chinese officials continue transport restrictions in parts of Xinjiang as of late July over COVID-19 concerns. Additional controls possible.

  • Alert Begins: 27 Jul 2020 05:43 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 05 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 movement restrictions
  • Location(s): Xinjiang (map)
  • Start Time/Date: July 17
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities have maintained localized controls and transport restrictions in parts of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as of late July over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns. The controls were introduced from July 17 following an outbreak of the disease concentrated in Urumqi, the regional capital. Authorities require residents to have negative COVID-19 test results before traveling outside Urumqi; residents are advised to postpone nonessential travel outside the city. Subway and public bus services remain suspended in Urumqi. Officials have declared the districts of Tianshan and Shayibake to be high-risk areas, and barred nonresidents from visiting residential compounds in the specified communities as authorities conduct mass testing. Movement controls have also been reported in Kashgar, the largest city in western Xinjiang, and Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. Although flights have not been specifically banned, reduced demand has lead to numerous flight cancellations at regional airports, including Urumqi Diwopu International Airport (URC) and Kashgar Airport (KHG).

Intercity travel disruptions are likely to continue in Xinjiang in the coming weeks. Security personnel have deployed to enforce movement restrictions and conduct temperature and identification checks in urban areas and along key ground transport routes. Transport restrictions and enforcement measures prompt business disruptions throughout Xinjiang for the duration of the controls.

Background and Analysis
Following the initial outbreak in Wuhan, Chinese authorities have been extremely proactive in introducing localized gathering and transport controls in response to COVID-19 cases. Restrictions were imposed in Beijing from mid-June after several dozen cases were discovered in the city. Controls in Beijing gradually began to ease in subsequent weeks, as authorities conducted mass testing to identify and isolate new cases.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Remain polite and nonconfrontational if questioned by security personnel. Avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Stock up on essential supplies. Confirm all travel reservations; consider deferring nonessential travel to and from Xinjiang. Make allowances for likely domestic travel restrictions if operating in the region.


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