Chengdu, China Locks Down 21.2 Million People

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In order to prepare for four days of citywide Covid-19 testing, Chengdu, a major city in southwest China with a population of 21.2 million, declared a lockdown on its citizens. This comes as some of the nation’s most populated and economically significant cities are dealing with outbreaks.

Lockdown 

Residents of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, were ordered to stay home from 6 p.m. on Thursday, with households allowed to send one person per day to shop for necessities, the city government said in a statement.

Chengdu, which reported 157 domestically transmitted infections on Wednesday, is the largest Chinese city to be locked down since Shanghai in April and May. It remained unclear whether the lockdown would be lifted after the mass testing ends on Sunday.

Other major cities including Shenzhen in the south and Dalian in the northeast have also stepped up Covid restrictions this week, ranging from work-from-home requirements to the closure of entertainment businesses in some districts.

The moves curtail the activities of tens of millions of people, intensifying the challenges for China to minimise the economic impact of a “dynamic-zero” Covid policy that has kept China’s borders mostly shut to international visitors and make it an outlier as other countries try to live with the coronavirus.

Sparking panic 

Most of the curbs are intended to last a few days, although two provincial cities in northern China have extended curbs slightly beyond initial promises.

Chengdu’s lockdown sparked panic buying of essentials among residents.

Hwabao Trust economist Nie Wen said that because Chengdu acted quickly to lock down, it was unlikely to see a repeat of Shanghai’s two-month ordeal.

Non-essential employees in Chengdu were asked to work from home and residents were urged not to leave the city unless needed.

Residents who must leave their residential compounds for hospital visits or other special needs must obtain approval from neighbourhood staffers.

At 10 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) on Thursday, it showed 398 flights had been cancelled at Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu, with a cancellation rate of 62%.

Shenzhen curbs

In Shenzhen, which has the third-highest economic output among Chinese cities, the most populous district Baoan and tech hub Nanshan suspended large events and indoor entertainment for a few days.

They ordered stricter checks of digital health credentials for people entering residential compounds.

More than half of Shenzhen’s ten districts, home to over 15 million people, have ordered blanket closure of entertainment venues and halted or reduced restaurant dining for a few days, with curbs in two districts initially planned to be lifted by the end of Thursday.

In Shanghai, schools reopened on Thursday after being closed for months.

Mainland China has reported no Covid death since May, leaving the death toll at 5,226.

 

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Source: CNBC

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