China Partially Shuts Down Industrial City After Omicron Cases

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Chinese officials on Tuesday ordered a partial shutdown of the industrial city of Suzhou along with other pandemic measures after multiple infections with the highly transmissible Omicron Covid variant were reported in the city, highlighting China’s continued “zero tolerance” approach to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, says an article published in Forbes.

Key facts

According to China’s National Health Commission, eight new local Covid-19 cases were reported in Suzhou on Tuesday. A local official said that the highly infectious omicron variant was detected among the reported cases, without specifying an exact number, Reuters reported.

In response to the outbreak, authorities on Tuesday shut down 15 highway entrances into the city a day after suspending some long-distance bus services, locking down buildings, and urging citizens to not leave their homes for non-essential reasons.

The city also began a round of mass testing on Monday, in line with China’s stringent pandemic mitigation measures.

Cases have also been detected in the high-tech Suzhou Industrial Park, impacting manufacturing operations in plants run by Bosch and Taiwanese semiconductor company United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC).

No death reported

China’s Covid-19 death toll remains at 4,636, according to the National Health Commission’s data. The country has not reported a single death from Covid-19 in more than a year with the last one being reported on January 26, 2021.

Zero-tolerance policy

The Suzhou Industrial Park is a key high-tech development zone in China’s Jiangsu province and home to key manufacturing facilities of several global firms like Samsung, Bosch, Eli Lily, UMC, among others.

The partial lockdown of the city and mass testing efforts are all part of China’s “zero tolerance” policy towards Covid-19, which seeks to completely eliminate all local spread. China has used stringent lockdowns and mass testing to stomp out emerging clusters of cases across the country in the past year.

However, the highly transmissible omicron variant is likely to pose a major challenge to the effectiveness of these measures.

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Source: Forbes

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