| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Several cities in China add COVID curbs as millions still under lockdown

New restrictions and lockdowns were implemented in a number of COVID-affected Chinese cities from the east to the west of the country in order to contain flare-ups that are once more posing a threat to local economy.

A crucial component of China’s “dynamic COVID-zero” approach is the reduction of people’s unneeded movement for a few days, which is a milder kind of lockdown. The goal is to prevent efforts to stop an outbreak from degenerating into the protracted nightmares experienced in Shanghai and Wuhan.

The uncertainty over how long such smaller lockdowns may last – because Omicron’s high transmissibility makes it harder to clear infections – has hurt business confidence and made people less willing to travel.

The eastern export and manufacturing hub Yiwu said on Thursday it would enter three days of “silent management”, with most of its residents banned from leaving designated areas and some confined to their homes.

Yiwu’s 1.9 million people joined millions of others across several cities whose movements are restricted largely to their residential compounds, unless they have to go out for matters such as COVID tests, grocery shopping or hospital visits.

Companies whose employees can work on closed campuses are still allowed to operate, while all public venues in Yiwu were to be closed during the three days, excluding hospitals and other places offering essential services.

In China’s western region of Xinjiang, three cities in the Aksu area from Thursday allowed employees to leave their homes for work while restricting everyone else to necessary movements only. It is not clear when the measures will be lifted.

Key districts in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, meanwhile, have been in a five-day lockdown starting on Wednesday.

Clusters in the tourism hotspots Hainan and Tibet continued to expand, with affected cities under lockdowns.

Mainland China reported 1,993 domestically transmitted new coronavirus cases for Aug. 10 – 614 symptomatic and 1,379 asymptomatic – the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

There were no new deaths, keeping fatalities at 5,226. China has confirmed 232,809 cases with symptoms as of Aug. 10, including local transmitted ones and those among arrivals.

China’s capital Beijing reported two local cases for the previous day, while financial hub Shanghai and southern technology hub Shenzhen reported zero new local infections.

  • Reuters