Saturday, June 3, 2023

China locked down millions of people as Kovid spread

China on Sunday ordered millions more people in the country’s northeast to stay-at-home as it grapples with its biggest Covid-19 outbreak in two years.

The country has largely kept the virus at bay since easing its initial outbreak in 2020 by using targeted lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.

But in recent months the Omicron strain has broken through its defenses and has taken hold in many cities.

Jilin, the second largest city in Jilin province, will lock down about 4.5 million residents for three days starting Monday night, local officials announced.

More than 4,000 new infections were reported across China on Sunday – with two-thirds in Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea.

Read more: First Covid death in China since January 2021; Global daily cases increase by 12% | top updates

Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, said on Saturday it would also tighten restrictions for three days.

Since March 11, Changchun’s nine million people have been allowed to buy food only once every two days. The new measures mean that only medical personnel and other anti-epidemic staff will be authorized to step out of their homes.

But restrictions are being eased in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, which a week ago laid off its 17.5 million residents.

Local health officials said on Sunday that public transport would resume fully from Monday, along with some administrative and business activities. However, non-essential businesses will remain closed and Futian City’s business district is still under strict anti-COVID measures.

Shenzhen is home to some of China’s biggest tech firms, which means any restrictions on businesses come at a significant economic cost. China on Saturday recorded its first two deaths from Kovid in more than a year.

Millions of people are currently under lockdown in other regions and officials are rushing to make hospital beds, fearing the health system could be strained.

Jilin province has built eight temporary hospitals and two quarantine centers.

East of the capital Beijing, the city of Tangshan on Sunday banned traffic for 24 hours in an effort to slow the spread of the virus – and all of its 7.7 million people will be tested.

Read also: China will change its Kovid strategy after major outbreak and pressure on economy

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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