Millions in new COVID lockdown as China keeps strict policy

BEIJING — China has positioned hundreds of thousands of its residents beneath renewed lockdown following recent outbreaks of COVID-19, authorities reported Tuesday, as the federal government persists in its hard-line policy on containing the virus.

The measures affected about half of the 6 million residents of the port metropolis of Dalian, together with an undisclosed quantity in Chengde and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, each round three hours from the capital Beijing.

Dalian’s lockdown was as a result of final 5 days, though authorities have in previous prolonged restrictions relying on the variety of new instances.

Beijing has been comparatively unaffected to this point, though journey in and out of the capital has been discouraged and residents are topic to testing on an nearly every day foundation.

Partial lockdowns have additionally been imposed on cities such as Chengdu in the southwest, Shenyang in the northeast and Jishui in the southeast.

Such measures are mandated beneath China’s “zero-COVID” policy, which contrasts starkly with moves by other nations to coexist with the virus through gradual easing of restrictions, vaccinations, improved therapeutics and voluntary isolation.

China has largely kept its borders closed to foreign visitors, while requiring those who do come to submit to more than a week of quarantine in hotels where sanitary conditions are often poor. Masking and regular testing are also standard and anyone found to have been in close contact with a person confirmed to have the virus is forcibly transported to field hospitals.

The World Health Organization has called China’s policy unsustainable and on Monday, a Chinese think tank issued a rare public disagreement with the ruling Communist Party, saying the curbs that have shut down cities and disrupted trade, travel and industry must change to prevent an “economic stall.”

The Anbound Research Center gave no details of possible changes but said President Xi Jinping’s government needs to focus on shoring up sinking growth. It noted the United States, Europe and Japan are recovering economically after easing anti-disease curbs.

“Preventing the risk of economic stall should be the priority task,” the think tank said in a report titled, “It’s Time for China to Adjust Its Virus Control and Prevention Policies.”

Previous lockdowns have seen tens of millions confined to their homes, sometimes for weeks. A strict lockdown in the largest city and commercial hub of Shanghai earlier this year led to protests online and in person over lack of food and medical services.

China on Tuesday reported 1,717 instances of native transmission, 52 of them in Liaoning province the place Dalian is positioned. Most of the instances have been reported in Sichuan province, whose capital is Chengdu, and the overwhelming majority have been asymptomatic.

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