Almost 500 students at China’s premier college for broadcast journalists have been sent to a quarantine center after a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected in their dormitory.
The 488 students at Communication University of China, along with 19 teachers and five assistants, were transferred by bus beginning on Friday night.
Quarantining anyone considered to have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus has been a pillar of China’s “zero COVID-19” policy. The quarantine centers include field hospitals, as well as converted stadiums and exhibition centers that have been criticized for overcrowding, poor sanitation and spoiled food.
As of last week, about 65 million Chinese residents were under lockdown, despite just 1,248 new cases of domestic transmission being reported yesterday. Most of those were asymptomatic.
The lockdowns have sparked protests online and confrontations with health workers and police, and have exacted a major toll on the economy, affecting global supply chains for electronics and other products.
The weeks-long lockdown in China’s biggest city of Shanghai over the summer prompted an exodus of migrant workers and foreign businesspeople, the repercussions of which have yet to be felt.
In Hong Kong, stringent COVID-19 curbs have long made life for school students extremely hard. Now, a new rule requiring higher vaccination levels could upend what progress has been made toward resuming full-day in-person classes.
Further delays to normal school life are likely to exacerbate youth mental health problems as well as give more people reason to leave the territory, further undermining its status as an Asian financial hub, educators and business leaders said.
“There is so much uncertainty over whether classes are going to be canceled, can the kids go to school? The school uncertainty is definitely helping to drive people away and it makes it hard to attract people to Hong Kong,” Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong Chairman Robert Quinlivan said.
About 30,000 students withdrew from Hong Kong schools in the past academic year and more than 5,000 teachers resigned, government data showed.
Many are part of an exodus kick-started by Beijing’s efforts to exert greater control over the territory and which has been further fueled by COVID-19 curbs.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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