China sets curfews as COVID-19 surges following the holiday
After the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, Chinese localities imposed new lockdowns and travel restrictions ahead of a big Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week.
The newest lockdown began Monday in Fenyang, Shanxi Province after a preliminary positive case was discovered in citywide testing the day before, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
The capital of the neighboring Inner Mongolia region, Hohhot, stated on Tuesday that outside vehicles and passengers will be prevented from accessing the city. Nearly the course of around 12 days, Hohhot documented over 2,000 cases.
China is one of the only countries still using draconian measures to halt the disease from spreading. The long-ruling Communist Party is especially worried as it attempts to project a positive image of the country in the run-up to a once-every-five-years party meeting, which begins on Sunday.
Travel was down over the annual National Day holiday, which began on October 1, as officials prevented people from leaving their towns and provinces. However, the number of new daily cases has increased to almost 1,800 from 600 at the start of the vacation.
Leaders do not want a huge epidemic to overshadow Congress, but their tight “zero-COVID” policy has cost the economy dearly, particularly small firms and temporary workers. Many Chinese people believe that the pandemic policy will be relaxed following the summit.
Outbreaks have been observed throughout the country, with the greatest concentrations in Inner Mongolia and the far west Xinjiang province. Both have been logging hundreds of new cases every day.
A small but growing number of instances have been reported in both Shanghai, where inhabitants have subjected to protracted lockdowns earlier this year, and the national capital Beijing. Two Shanghai districts have announced the closure of theatres and other forms of entertainment.
For many Chinese, lining up for a free virus test multiple times a week has become the norm, with Beijing and other cities requiring a negative test result within 72 hours to enter parks, office buildings, stores, and other public venues.
This article has been updated to include the shutdown of cinemas and other entertainment places in two Shanghai districts.