Winter has only just started in China, yet extreme cold has already caused fatal damage to its northwestern region.

State-backed Xinhua News Agency reported that freezing temperatures killed seven road workers in Altay city, Xinjiang province, on November 27. Another worker was also admitted to the hospital but survived.

The eight workers were returning home that day. But extreme weather forced them to abandon their vehicle, and the group was lost as they attempted to walk back on foot. Reportedly, vehicle lights were invisible at less than three meters.

Hundreds of livestock have succumbed to the extreme cold in Mongolia. Sheep and cattle, amounting to hundreds, have either died or gone missing in China’s primary pastoral region.

Bloomberg reported that COVID curbs have contributed to livestock damage in the area. The protocols slowed animal movement and feed delivery. As a result, the animals wandered in the snow, looking for food, and ended up trapped.

The outlet said extreme cold unseen in a decade has advanced in the region since November 20. Bloomberg cited from Mongolia’s weather bureau that temperatures have dropped to -47°C (-116.6°F). 

Cold warnings have also been forecast for the rest of the country by the end of November. Reportedly, several southern areas may experience temperatures of up to 14°C lower than usual.

The China Meteorological Administration expected the cold front to last until December 7. It said this would raise heating costs for farmers to maintain indoor crops.

Bloomberg added that heavy snow would hinder fuel transportation from the northwest coalfields—already under pressure from China’s efforts to contain the worst COVID outbreak since the pandemic started.

The report cited from China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association that coal sales from mining hub Shanxi were already down 21% for the first half of this month.

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