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Zero-Covid doubles as outbreaks expand in Chinese cities

Zero-Covid doubles as outbreaks expand in Chinese cities
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  • China reports third straight day of more than 1,000 new domestic cases
  • Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Xining are among the cities that have tightened COVID measures
  • China has repeatedly pledged to adhere to a zero-tolerance policy

BEIJING, Oct 27 (Reuters) – From Wuhan in central China to Xining in the northwest, Chinese cities are doubling their COVID-19 borders, sealing off buildings, locking down districts and stranding millions of people to contain the spreading outbreaks.

China on Thursday reported a third straight day of more than 1,000 new COVID cases nationwide, a modest number compared with the tens of thousands a day that felt like Shanghai was in full lockdown earlier this year, but enough to trigger more restrictions across the country.

China’s coronavirus caseload has remained small by global standards, but this year’s extremely strict and disruptive containment measures against the highly transmitted Omicron variant have hit the world’s second-largest economy hard.

Guangzhou, China’s fourth-largest city by economic output and the capital of Guangdong province, sealed off more streets and neighborhoods on Thursday and kept people indoors as new areas were deemed high-risk in a COVID resurgence that is now in its fourth week.

“Many of my friends and colleagues are trapped at home,” said Lily Li, 28, a Guangzhou resident.

“The situation is still unstable. Many places are under quarantine. Classes have been suspended, entertainment venues have also stopped operating. The gym I go to often is also closed.”

As of October, 24, 28 cities were implementing varying degrees of lockdown measures, affecting about 207.7 million people in regions responsible for about 25.6 trillion yuan ($3.55 trillion) of China’s gross domestic product, according to Nomura.

This is equivalent to about a quarter of China’s 2021 economic output.

China’s mainland stocks fell on Thursday as a flurry of COVID-19 outbreaks and gloomy data. industrial sector feeling of pain.

WOW WUHAN

Wuhan, where the world’s first COVID-19 outbreak occurred in late 2019, reported about 20 to 25 new infections a day this week, and local authorities ordered more than 800,000 people in one district to stay at home until Sunday.

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Beijing, October 22, 2022, REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

“I don’t know what to do. If we can live like this, I guess we will,” said a 38-year-old Wuhan resident surnamed Zhang.

“We’re feeling a little numb right now when we see this news about COVID. We’re feeling numb to it all. We’re feeling more and more numb.”

Wuhan has suspended the sale of pork in parts of the city after a case of COVID was discovered, which authorities said was linked to the local pork supply chain, according to pictures and posts on social media.

In Xining, capital of Qinghai province, social media posts reported food shortages and rising prices of essential goods as health authorities in the city of 2.5 million raced to contain a COVID rebound after a week-long National Day holiday in early October.

“To reduce the risk of transmission, some vegetable and fruit shops have been closed and quarantined,” a Xining government official said on Wednesday.

Other major Chinese cities, including Zhengzhou, Datong and Xian, imposed new restrictions this week to contain local outbreaks.

The Universal Resort theme park in Beijing was closed on Wednesday after a visitor tested positive for the coronavirus.

China has repeatedly vowed to adhere to a zero-tolerance response to COVID-19 and that authorities will take the necessary measures to contain the virus.

“When there’s a case somewhere and then you’re in close contact, you should be quarantined,” said Wen Bihan, 26, a Beijing resident who has been isolated in quarantine facilities twice before.

“It’s nerve-racking.”

($1 = 7.2107 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Additional reporting by Martin Quin Pollard and Shubing Wang in Beijing and Josh Ye in Hong Kong; Edited by Edmund Klamann, Lincoln Feast, and Tomasz Janowski

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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