China extended a lockdown in districts of Chengdu and ordered more mass testing as it tries to contain a COVID-19 outbreak.
Chengdu’s central Jinjiang District would intensify lockdown measures and extend them for at least three days, authorities said in a statement yesterday.
Other districts announced a third round of COVID-19 tests.
People should return home without delay after being tested, officials said.
Chengdu’s lockdown, which started on Thursday, demonstrates the country’s commitment to its “zero COVID-19” approach despite the economic loss it has triggered.
Chengdu, China’s sixth-largest city, is the biggest to be closed off since Shanghai on June 1 ended two months of curbs on people’s movement, the effects of which are still being felt by businesses.
Demand in Shanghai for everything from restaurant dining to movies and tourism are still far below pre-lockdown levels, while some indicators show that the city is taking longer to recover than Hong Kong, where rules have been eased.
Retail sales in the city dropped 4.3 percent in June from a year earlier and rose a meager 0.3 percent in July, following an average 35 percent slump in the preceding three months starting March, when the outbreak began.
China on Saturday reported 1,673 local COVID-19 cases in total, including 1,359 asymptomatic cases.
Tibet found the most cases among all regions, with 556 new infections detected, Chinese National Health Commission data showed.
Sichuan Province, home to Chengdu, reported 186 cases, while southern technology hub Shenzhen reported 89 new cases.
Daily new infections in the coming few days are expected to remain at elevated levels, local health authorities said at a Saturday news briefing.
Beijing and Shanghai found only one case each.
Tianjin, a northern port hub near Beijing, shut dine-in services in one district after finding 22 new cases on Saturday. The city started mass testing its 13.7 million residents from yesterday.
Sichuan’s Aba County, home to about 815,000 people, yesterday implemented a lockdown, with local authorties saying that the restrictions would last for at least four days.
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