China imposes lockdowns as Covid-19 surges after holiday

China imposes lockdowns as Covid-19 surges after holiday

Chinese cities were imposing new lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily Covid-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of a major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week.

The latest lockdown began in the city of Fanyang in northern China’s Shanxi province on Monday after an initial positive case was found in a citywide test the previous day, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In the nearby Inner Mongolia region, the capital Hohhot announced that from Tuesday outside vehicles and travelers would be banned from entering the city.

Hohhot has recorded more than 2,000 cases in about 12 days.

China is one of the few places in the world that is still taking strict measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

The long-ruling Communist Party is particularly worried as it tries to project a positive image of the nation to the once-in-a-five-year party Congress, starting Sunday.

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Travel was closed during the annual National Day holiday that began on 1 October, as authorities discouraged people from leaving their cities and provinces.

But the number of new daily cases still rose from 600 at the start of the break to nearly 1,800.

The leaders don’t want a major outbreak to befall Congress, but their strict “zero-Covid” approach has taken an economic toll, especially on small businesses and temporary workers.

Many in China hope that the policy of the epidemic will ease after the meeting.

Outbreaks have been reported across the country, with the largest being in Inner Mongolia and the far-west Xinjiang region. Both are reporting several hundred new cases a day.

Both Shanghai, where residents faced prolonged lockdowns earlier this year, and the national capital Beijing have a small but rising number of cases.
Shanghai’s two districts last week announced the closure of cinemas and other entertainment venues.

Line up for a free virus test several times a week has become the norm for many Chinese, within 72 hours to enter parks, office buildings, shops and other public places in Beijing and other cities. A negative test result is required.

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