All in China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou, a district of 1.8 million people, were ordered to stay home for virus tests on Saturday and schools in a major southwest city were closed because of another surge in infections. was recorded.
Across the country, a total of 11,773 infections were reported in the last 24 hours, including 10,351 people without symptoms. China’s numbers are small, but last week’s increase is challenging a “zero-Covid” strategy that aims to isolate every infected person.
The quarantine for travelers arriving in China is to be shortened from seven to at least five days as part of a change in controls announced on Friday to reduce their costs and disruption. But the ruling Communist Party said it would stick to “zero Covid” even as other countries ease travel and other restrictions and attempt to shift to a long-term strategy of living with the virus.
According to the National Health Commission, a total of 3,775 infections were detected in Guangzhou, a city of 13 million, including 2,996 people who showed no symptoms. This was an increase from Friday’s total of 3,030, which included 2,461 asymptomatic.
The district government announced on its social media account that people in Guangzhou’s Haizu district were told to go to the nearest testing station, but otherwise stay at home. One member of each household was allowed to buy food.
Also on Saturday, health officials warned the decision to revise anti-virus controls did not mean they were ending.
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Under the changes, some foreign businessmen and athletes traveling to China will be allowed into a containment zone without a quarantine period. The rules should focus more on who counts as a contact with infected people, thereby reducing the number of affected.
“It is not rest, nor flat out, but more precise and scientific prevention and treatment,” said NHC deputy director Lei Hachao. Lei said the target was to . Is
“Stop the epidemic and reduce the impact on economic and social development.”
Economists and public health experts say Beijing may be able to end “zero Covid” by mid-2023, but millions of elderly people need to be vaccinated before China finally controls foreign visitors.
Nationwide, people who want to enter supermarkets and other public buildings must show negative results for a virus test taken as many times a day as possible.
This allows the authorities to trace the infection in people without any symptoms.
Guangzhou, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Hong Kong, closed schools and bus and subway service in much of the city as the number of cases rose over the past week. Flights to the Chinese capital Beijing and other major cities have been canceled.
In the southwest, the industrial city of Chongqing closed schools in its Bebei district, which houses 840,000 people. Residents were barred from leaving several apartment complexes in its Yubei district, but the city gave no indication of how many were affected.
Public frustration and complaints that some people have been left without access to food or medicine have boiled over into protests and clashes with local authorities in some areas.
Elsewhere, large-scale testing was being conducted in eight districts with a total of 6.6 million people in the central city of Zhengzhou on Saturday.
Access to an industrial area in Zhengzhou, which is home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, was suspended last week following the outbreak. Apple Inc. has warned that the delivery of its new iPhone 14 model will be delayed.
Despite efforts to cushion the damage to the world’s second-largest economy, forecasters say business and consumer activity in the three months ending September followed by 2.2 pc of the first half to 3.9 per cent from a year earlier. getting weaker.
Economists have lowered their forecast for China’s annual economic growth to 3 pc, the lowest in decades.
President Xi Jinping’s government has refused to import foreign vaccines and rejected requests to release more information about the source of the virus, which was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019.
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