Third city in China announces coronavirus lockdown

China announced it would lock down Anyang, a city of 5.5 million people, late Monday night in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 after two omicron cases were detected there.

Anyang is the third city to be locked down in China after Xi'an locked down for almost three weeks and Yuzhou for over a week, according to The Associated Press.

State media reported that nonessential vehicles in Anyang are prohibited from being on the streets as part of the lockdown. People are also not permitted to go out, and stores, except those selling essentials, were shuttered as well. However, case numbers remain relatively low with 58 new cases confirmed between Monday and Tuesday morning, the AP reported.

Now, about 20 million people in China are under lockdown as the country attempts to conduct mass testing in an effort to isolate those infected as quickly as possible.

The recent lockdowns are the broadest effort to combat the virus in China since locking down Wuhan and the Hubei province in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, the AP added.

As the highly contagious omicron variant continues to drive up case numbers around the world, the strict decision comes just weeks ahead of the 2022 Beijing Olympics scheduled to start on Feb. 4.

"If the mass cluster transmission happens, it will impact the Games and the schedule for sure," Huang Chun, an Olympics official in charge of disease control, said, per the AP.

"The worst scenario, if it happens, is independent of man's will, so we leave our options open," he added.