As China battles a spike in cases, raising fears over its economy and dimming prospects for a swift post-coronavirus reopening, Beijing closed parks, shopping malls, and museums on Tuesday while more Chinese towns resumed mass testing for Covid-19.
On Monday, China reported 28,127 new local cases across the country, approaching its daily peak from April, with infections in the southern city of Guangzhou and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing accounting for over half of the total.
Every day, instances in the capital city of Beijing reach new highs, causing the local officials to ask more residents to remain in their homes.
Comparatively to the three over the weekend, which were the first deaths in China since May, there were two more deaths that health officials have linked to Covid-19.
The most recent wave is putting to the test changes made recently to China’s zero-Covid policy, which calls for authorities to be more targeted in their enforcement actions and stay away from the sweeping lockdowns and testing that have stifled the economy and irritated citizens.
After Shijiazhuang made a comparable declaration on Sunday, the municipality of Tianjin, close to Beijing, became the most recent on Tuesday to request city-wide testing.
China’s stringent Covid restrictions, including borders that are still essentially closed over three years after the outbreak, make it a global outlier even after the revised regulations.
Tightening regulations in Beijing and other cities, even as China works to prevent widespread lockdowns like the one that paralysed Shanghai this year, have rekindled investor concerns about the economy and led to overnight drops in both global stock prices and oil prices.
On Tuesday, Nomura analysts said that according to their internal index, locations responsible for roughly 19.9% of China’s total GDP were subject to some kind of curtailment or lockout, up from 15.6 percent on Monday and not far from the indicator’s peak in April, during Shanghai’s lockdown.
The Chinese capital issued a warning on Monday that the Covid-19 pandemic is posing its most serious test yet, and it tightened entry requirements by asking visitors from other parts of China to undergo three days of Covid testing before they are allowed to leave their accommodations.
Many Beijingers have experienced having their buildings shut down, though these limitations frequently only last a few days. Many museums were closed, while establishments including the Happy Valley amusement park and the city’s enormous Chaoyang Park, a favourite site for runners and picnickers, announced on Tuesday that they would close because to the epidemic. As opposed to 962 on Sunday, Beijing reported 1,438 new local cases.
The virus was originally identified in the central city of Wuhan, which on Tuesday issued a notice advising its citizens to limit their travel to within the house and workplace only.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who has led China’s zero-Covid policy, visited Chongqing on Monday and urged local officials to abide by the restrictions and put the outbreak under control, according to the municipality.