Major Chinese cities tighten COVID restrictions

Several of China's largest cities imposed stricter measures against the novel coronavirus today, further curtailing the activities of tens of millions of people and raising new concerns about the health of the slow-growing economy, Reuters reported, citing BTA.

In major centers from the southern technology hub of Shenzhen to southwestern Chengdu and the northeastern port of Dalian, major countywide lockdowns have been imposed, as have businesses. All this is necessary in order to eradicate new outbreaks of infection. The latest restrictions, which will delay the start of the school year for some, reflect China’s strict adherence to a “zero COVID” policy. It aims to bring any change in the situation under control.

That insistence alienates him from the rest of the world, which is trying to live with the coronavirus despite the cost to the world’s second-largest economy. While many of the measures are initially planned to be in place for several days, any major escalation or spread of the virus in some of China’s biggest cities risks further damaging weak economic growth.

Beijing and Shanghai, China’s most populous cities, have reported only sporadic reports of late, but concerns over COVID continue to weigh on Chinese stock prices. Authorities in Longhua, an area in Shenzhen with a population of 2.5 million, closed entertainment venues and wholesale markets. Major events are also temporarily suspended there. People in Longhua and southwestern Chengdu must present a negative test taken within 24 hours to enter the housing estates. Restaurants must operate at half their capacity. The measures will be in effect until Saturday.

Three other districts also announced measures that affected more than 6 million in Shenzhen province. This year the province has been battling outbreaks of Omicron sub-variants.

Dalian is a major import hub for soybeans and iron ore, and the shutdown that began today is scheduled to last through Sunday across the main urban areas of about 3 million people. Only one person in a household is allowed to shop daily for household needs. The lockdown requires people to work from home, while manufacturing companies must cut on-site staff and maintain only essential and emergency operations.

Authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu, with a population of 21 million people, ordered a complete shutdown of entertainment and cultural facilities starting today. The plan there is to postpone the start of the autumn term.

The northern municipality of Tianjin, home to 13.7 million people, began a fourth round of testing on Saturday. Local authorities said they would delay the resumption of classes in a real environment for many schools. In the northern city of Shijiazhuang, near Beijing, four major districts have urged more than 3 million people to work from home until tomorrow afternoon. The only exceptions are those whose work does not allow this.

Official data from today showed that there were 1,717 internally transmitted covid infections in mainland China as of August 29, with 349 of them symptomatic and the remaining 1,368 asymptomatic.

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