China’s manufacturing hub, Guangzhou, has been partially locked down due to the widespread spread of Covid. | So Good News
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A third district has been locked down as authorities in the southern Chinese capital of Guangzhou rush to stop a widespread outbreak of the virus and avoid going into effect the kind of city-wide lockdown that ravaged Shanghai earlier this year.
Guangzhou reported 2,637 local infections on Tuesday, nearly a third of all new infections across China. Nationwide, infections are at a six-month high.
The city of 19 million people has become the epicenter of China’s latest Covid outbreak, recording more than 1,000 new infections for four consecutive days, a relatively high number by the country’s Covid-zero standards.
As the world moves away from the pandemic, China snaps lockdowns; cluster testing; There are continued calls for extensive contact tracing and combating infections as soon as they emerge. The zero-tolerance approach is increasingly challenged by the highly contagious Omicron strain, which has increased public response due to its enormous economic and social costs.
The current outbreak is the worst since the epidemic began in Guangzhou. The city is the capital of Guangdong Province, a major economic powerhouse for China and a global manufacturing hub.
Most of the cases in Guangzhou are centered in Haizhu District, a mostly residential urban district on the south bank of the Pearl River. Haizhu was locked down last Saturday, with residents ordered to leave their homes non-essentially, and all public transportation—from buses to subways—suspended. The lockdown was initially supposed to last for three days, but was later extended until Friday.
Two more districts were locked down on Wednesday as the spread of the virus spread.
Residents in the old Liwan District, west of the city, woke up to unnecessary stay-at-home orders. Colleges and universities in the county were ordered to close their campuses, with all schools moving classes online and closing daycares. Restaurants, except those offering essential supplies, were prohibited from eating and drinking and businesses were ordered to close.
On Wednesday afternoon, Outlying Panyu, a third district has declared a lockdown that will last until Sunday. The county has also banned private vehicles and bicycles from the streets.
Mass testing has begun in nine districts across the capital, with more than 40 subway stations closed. Residents are considered close contacts of an infected person – that is, in China, neighbors living in the same building or Even residential compounds – moved en masse to centralized quarantine facilities.
“Currently, there is still a risk of community spread in non-dangerous areas, and the outbreak is still serious and complicated,” Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
So far, the lockdown appears to be more targeted and less severe than what has been seen in many other cities. Residents in high-risk neighborhoods can’t leave their homes, but residents in low-risk areas in locked-down districts can buy groceries and other daily necessities.
But many fear a city-wide lockdown if the disease continues to spread. Residents on China’s super app WeChat shared charts comparing Shanghai’s caseload, which surged in late March before the eastern financial hub’s two-month lockdown.
Shanghai authorities initially denied a city-wide lockdown was necessary. But the city imposed another after reporting 3,500 daily infections.
Many residents of Guangzhou stocked up on food and other supplies despite the prospect of worse. “I bought (groceries and snacks) online like crazy. I will be able to eat leftovers for a month,” said one resident, whose Haizhou district is considered low-risk by authorities.
Others, angered by the restrictions and probation orders, have taken to social media to vent their frustration. China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo has grown to criticize the no-Covid measures, using slang and texts in the local Cantonese dialect, apparently avoiding the prying eyes of online censors who don’t understand it.
One Weibo user commented, “I learned Cantonese swear words in real-time search.
Meanwhile, local authorities across the country are under pressure to step up Covid control measures despite public discontent.
This week, a video of Covid workers dressed head-to-toe in uniform beating residents went viral online. After getting angry, Linyi City Police in Shandong province said in a statement on Tuesday that seven Covid workers were detained after clashes with local residents.