In echo of 2020 covid start, China’s Wuhan locks down 1 million residents

A district on the outskirts of Wuhan has been locked down, the first time the Chinese city that has seen the world’s first Covid-19 lockdown has imposed such a measure since 2020, underscoring how far the country is from post -pandemic normality.

More than two years since the city was shut down to contain what was then a mysterious pneumonia, nearly 1 million residents of Wuhan’s Jiangxia District have been told to stay in their homes and not go outside unless necessary. is. All public transport has been shut down and entertainment venues closed for three days after four asymptomatic cases were found in the district on Tuesday.

While restrictions are limited to just one district so far, the move is likely to raise concerns about widening curbs. Life in the pandemic-ravaged city of 11 million people had largely returned to normal since its initial lockdown in 2020 – setting a precedent for how Chinese authorities would deal with flare-ups in other parts of the country – with a small outbreak in April and a handful of cases in the past month.

China is sticking to its Covid Zero strategy of lockdowns, movement restrictions and mass testing, despite being challenged like never before, with more contagious variants bypassing the strictest curbs. The country reported 604 local cases on Tuesday, up from 868 a day earlier.

Attention is also drawn to the southern manufacturing center of Shenzhen, which has reported 4 new cases, bringing the number to more than 150 since July 19. days, raising concerns about global supply chain disruptions.

The city council asked its 100 largest companies, including iPhone maker Foxconn and oil producer Cnooc Ltd. to limit activities only to employees who live in a closed loop or bubble, with little to no contact with people outside their factories or offices. Authorities have also asked companies to reduce unnecessary interaction between non-production personnel and factory floors to reduce infection.

Officials in Shenzhen said on Tuesday the outbreak is under control, with most cases being found isolated early and quickly, although they still expect to find new infections. The outbreak is linked to cross-border cases, Health Commission official Lin Hancheng said, without giving further details.

Shenzhen police last week said they arrested 82 people, 19 of whom were drivers delivering goods between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, for smuggling goods and violating epidemic prevention laws in recent months. Authorities said they will strictly enforce the closed system for drivers, who are not allowed to interact with the outside community while on the job.

Elsewhere, Shanghai reported 16 local cases, including one found outside the quarantine. The financial center is conducting two mandatory mass tests this week in nine of its 16 districts to reduce the risk of outbreaks.

To contain the virus situation in the city’s Baoshan district, where cases were found among logistics personnel, local transport associations have proposed operating warehouses under a closed system. Operations in 17 steel warehouses have been shut down for three days from Tuesday and the transport of some steel scrap has also been disrupted, according to a study by researcher Mysteel.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., the publicly traded unit of the world’s largest steelmaker, did not immediately respond to a question from Bloomberg News about its warehouse operations.

Most of China’s cases are centered in the hot spots of the Guangxi region in the south, where 269 cases were recorded on Tuesday, and in northwestern Gansu province, where there were 234 new infections.

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