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China locks down city of 300,000 over single Covid case

#China #locks #city #single #Covid #case

Hundreds of thousands of people were locked down in a small Chinese town on Tuesday after just one case of Covid-19 was detected as Beijing’s strict zero-tolerance virus strategy showed no signs of abating.

China is the latest major economy to hold on to a zero-Covid policy, beating down new outbreaks with lockdowns, enforced quarantines and onerous travel restrictions, even as public fatigue grows and the economy suffers damage.

Authorities in several regions have imposed a series of restrictions to stem new outbreaks caused by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

After reporting a new domestic infection, the Wugang Steel Production Center in Henan Province announced on Monday that it would introduce three days of “closed control” in response to “the need for disease prevention,” according to an official release.

None of the city’s 320,000 residents will be allowed to set foot outside their homes until Thursday noon, the release said, adding that basic necessities would be supplied by local authorities.

Residents are not allowed to use their cars without permission and must obtain official authorization in emergencies to travel under “closed-loop” conditions, the notice said.

According to Bloomberg, the city is home to one of China’s largest steel companies, Wuyang Iron & Steel Co., which exports to the United States, Japan and other major Western economies.

Nearly 250 million people in China are now subject to some type of virus control measure — more than double the number last week, Japanese bank Nomura said on Monday.

Continued outbreaks and harsh official reactions have dampened hopes that Beijing is ready to move away from the kind of draconian curbs seen earlier this year when tens of millions of people were confined to their homes for sometimes weeks.

The country recorded 347 new domestic cases as of Tuesday, more than 80 percent of which were asymptomatic, according to the National Health Commission.

Fears have grown over tighter Covid measures in Shanghai, which earlier this year endured a grueling two-month lockdown punctuated by supply shortages and scattered protests.

Most of the megacity’s 25 million residents have been ordered to get two Covid tests between Tuesday and Thursday as daily case numbers remain in double digits.

In eastern Anhui province, where authorities placed 1.7 million people under lockdown last week, residents in one county were due to undergo a 15th round of mass testing, according to an official notice on Tuesday.

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