Several large Chinese cities, including Shanghai, are on alert due to new clusters of COVID-19 infections, rolling out repeated mass testing or extending lockdowns on millions of residents, with some measures triggering a public outcry.
China has reported an average of about 390 local daily infections in the seven days ending on Sunday, higher than about 340 seven days earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on official data as of yesterday. That is tiny compared with a resurgence in other parts of Asia.
China is adamant about implementing its dynamic “zero COVID” policy of eliminating outbreaks as soon as they emerge. Previously, when a flare-up became a major outbreak, local officials had been compelled to take tougher measures such as month-long lockdowns, even at the cost of economic growth.
Persistent outbreaks and more closures could add pressure on the world’s second-largest economy, which contracted sharply in the second quarter from the first after widespread COVID-19 lockdowns jolted industrial production and consumer spending.
Shanghai, yet to fully recover from the harsh two-month lockdown in spring and still reporting daily sporadic cases, plans to hold mass testing in many of its 16 districts and in some smaller areas where new infections had been reported recently, after similar testing last week.
“There is still an epidemic risk at the community level so far,” the city government said in a statement.
Shanghai reported more than a dozen new cases, but none was found outside quarantined areas, local government data showed.
“I’m speechless,” said a Shanghai resident surnamed Wang, already subject to testing every weekend at her residential compound. “It sounds like a waste of resources that doesn’t address the real problem.”
The northern city of Tianjin, which launched multiple rounds of mass testing in recent months to curb earlier outbreaks, yesterday said it was again testing its more than 12 million residents, after two local infections were found.
In the central Chinese city of Zhumadian, lockdowns for more than 1 million people in two towns under its jurisdiction are extended for a few days until today.
Temporary lockdowns for more than 3 million people in four other towns had been extended to yesterday. Zhumadian continues to report dozens of cases daily, despite curbs last week.
The southwestern city of Chengdu yesterday said it suspended various entertainment and cultural venues, widening such curbs over the weekend that had been limited to a few districts.
Beijing, after a week of zero local infections, yesterday found two local cases — one international flight crew member and the person’s roommate. Authorities have sealed up affected buildings.
In the southern city of Guangzhou, COVID-19 control staffers broke down the locks of apartment doors without residents’ consent, stirring an outcry on social media over the weekend.
Authorities in one district in Guangzhou yesterday apologized to residents.
Newly married and with his first child on the way, auto worker Wang (王) wanted to move into the apartment he bought in Wuhan three years ago, but those hopes were dashed by China’s ballooning property crisis. Saddled with nearly US$300,000 in debt and with his unit nowhere near completion, the 34-year-old decided he had enough and stopped making mortgage payments. He is among numerous home buyers across dozens of cities in China who have boycotted payments over fears that their properties will not be completed by cash-strapped, debt-laden developers. “They said construction would resume soon,” Wang said, only giving his surname. “But
‘COMMON THREATS’: In a speech marking the end of Japan’s rule over the Korean Peninsula, Yoon Suk-yeol said he wants to ‘swiftly ... improve’ relations with Tokyo South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday said Japan is a partner as the two countries face “common threats,” offering to improve ties between the allies of the US whose help Washington has sought in putting up a united front against the likes of China, Russia and North Korea. Yoon said in a speech to mark Japan’s World War II surrender and the end of its 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula that he wants to “swiftly and properly improve” relations with Tokyo stemming from historical disputes. “When Korea-Japan relations move toward a common future, and when the mission of
NATIONAL SECURITY PRIORITY: Former US president Donald Trump might have retained nuclear codes after leaving the White House last year, a weapons expert said FBI agents were looking for secret documents about nuclear weapons among other classified material when they searched former US president Donald Trump’s Florida home on Monday, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. The newspaper cited people familiar with the investigation as saying that nuclear weapons documents were thought to be in the trove the FBI was hunting in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. They did not specify what kind of documents, or whether they referred to the US arsenal or another country’s. The report came hours after US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had personally authorized the US government request for a search
PLEAS FOR PEACE: After dozens of vehicles had been destroyed, Tijuana’s mayor told gangs the city would ‘take care of its citizens,’ and asked them to leave bystanders alone Hundreds of Mexican military troops were on Saturday flown into Tijuana to beef up street patrols after armed gangs hijacked and burned at least a dozen vehicles in the border city, the latest in a wave of attacks hitting civilians across the country. The US consulate in Tijuana instructed its employees “to shelter in place until further notice” around midnight on Friday because of the violence, as the Tijuana hijackings snarled traffic across the city and temporarily blocked access to one of the world’s busiest border crossings. About 350 national guard troops were flown in to reinforce thousands of federal troops already