Chinese authorities have once again placed millions of people under lockdown following the resurgence of an outbreak of COVID-19 of the Omicron variant and as a consequence of the national government's zero-COVID policy.
The measure affects cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dalian, Chengdu, and Shijiazhuang. In Dalian, about 3 million people have been confined for over 5 das, while in Shenzhen, in the southeastern coastal province of Guangdong, at least 4 districts with about 9 million inhabitants were reached by the sanitary order.
In Guangzhou, several residential compounds were sealed, while restaurant dining was banned and bus and underground services were reduced after a handful of people tested positive for an Omicron subvariant.
“The cases’ activity sites are complex, involving crowded places such as swimming pools and markets, and there is a high risk of community transmission,” said Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission. Authorities have also ordered all schools and kindergartens to delay the start of the school year, which usually happens on September 1.
With all of China’s 31 provinces having reported infections in the past 10 days, the nation’s zero-Covid policy threatens to continue dragging down economic growth in the year’s third quarter, although not all infections will trigger lockdowns.
Those that do, as was the case in Shanghai, could take a heavy toll on long-term confidence, weighing down investments and consumption due to the country's zero tolerance policy on COVID-19.
Beijing residents are being screened almost daily in preparation for the 20th Communist Party Congress which begins on October 16.