Several COVID-19-hit Chinese cities from the country’s east to west imposed new restrictions and lockdowns on their populations on Thursday to contain outbreaks that again threaten to disrupt local economies.
Curtailing unnecessary movements of people for days – a milder type of lockdown – once dozens of new cases emerge is a key practice of China’s “dynamic zero-covid” strategy. The goal is to avoid turning the efforts to contain the outbreak into the lingering nightmares seen in Shanghai and Wuhan.
Uncertainty about how long such smaller lockdowns can last – because Omicron’s high transmission capacity makes it difficult to eradicate infections – has damaged business confidence and made people less willing to travel.
The eastern export and manufacturing hub of Yiwu said on Thursday it would impose a three-day “silent rule”, with most of its residents banned from leaving their designated areas and some staying in their homes.
Yiu’s 1.9 million residents have joined millions of others in several cities whose movements are mostly restricted to their apartment complexes, except when they need to leave for things like COVID-19 tests, grocery shopping or hospital visits.
Companies whose employees can work on closed campuses can still operate, while all public places at IU were to be closed for three days, except for hospitals and other places that offer essential services.
In China’s western Xinjiang region, three cities in the Aksu region have allowed employees to leave their homes for work since Thursday, while restricting all others to essential travel. It is not yet known when these measures will be lifted.
Key areas in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, meanwhile, were under a five-day lockdown starting Wednesday.
Clusters in the tourism hot spots of Hainan and Tibet continued to expand, and the affected cities were closed.
As of Aug. 10, mainland China has recorded 1,993 new cases of the coronavirus, including 614 with symptoms and 1,379 without symptoms, the National Health Commission said Thursday.
There were no new deaths, keeping the death toll at 5,226. China had confirmed 232,809 symptomatic cases as of Aug. 10, including locally transmitted cases and those who arrived.
The Chinese capital, Beijing, reported two local cases in the previous day, while the financial center of Shanghai and the southern technology hub of Shenzhen reported zero new local infections.