Tens of millions of people were under lockdown across China on Wednesday and were forced to close as fresh COVID-19 clusters sparked fears of wider restrictions says VOA news.
- Post certain relief, another outbreak of COVID-19 in China.
- Millions have been put under lockdown again.
More than 300 cases have been reported in Xian and a new cluster was going in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere. In Shanghai, some social media users reported receiving government food rations, a throwback to the months-long confinement forced on the city’s residents earlier this year. “I’m so nervous, the epidemic has destroyed my youth,” posted a Shanghai-based user on Weibo.
Officials launched a new round of mass testing in more than half of the city’s districts. All karaoke bars were closed Wednesday post some infections were linked to six venues. “I think this is unnecessary, and I don’t really want to do it,” Shanghai resident Alice Chan told AFP. She said she took part in the latest testing round over fears that her smartphone-stored health code, which is used to access public spaces, might otherwise flag her as a COVID risk. “I think the situation won’t improve in the short term,” said another resident, who gave his name as Yao. “People now aren’t really scared of COVID anymore, they’re scared of being locked down in their homes.”
Japanese bank Nomura has estimated that at least 114 million people were under full or partial lockdowns nationwide in China as of Monday. This was a sharp jump from last week. The recent resurgences pose a fresh challenge for President Xi Jinping. This was because he claimed his zero-covid statement last week. In Xian, the population was placed under “temporary control measures” after 29 infections were found on Saturday. The city government said it would close entertainment venues including pubs, internet cafes and karaoke bars. “The positive infections are all the BA.5.2 branch of the omicron variant, and epidemiological tracing work is still in full swing,” said Xian health official Ma Chaofeng.
Tighter vaccination requirements
In Beijing, officials said Wednesday that the BA.5.2 branch has also been detected in the capital, but stressed the outbreak remains controllable. But the city will tighten vaccination requirements starting Monday, health official Li Ang told reporters. The city is working on getting more retirees vaccinated. Dozens of cases have also been recorded in Jiangsu province, neighbouring Shanghai. “A resurgence of omicron is not an issue in most other countries, but it remains a predominant issue for the Chinese economy,” warned Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura.
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Source: VOA News