China locked down an industrial city with nine million people overnight and reported more than 4,000 cases of the virus on Tuesday, as the country’s “zero-Covid” strategy faced a wave of Omicron.
Health authorities reported 4,770 new infections nationwide, mostly in the northeastern province of Jilin, as the city of Shenyang in neighboring Liaoning province was ordered closed late Monday.
China has moved fast in recent weeks to eliminate viral clusters with a choice-and-mix of hyper-local lockouts, mass testing and city-wide closures. It reported two Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, the first in more than a year.
Authorities have warned of the risks posed to growth by continued shutdowns as the country seeks to balance the health crisis with the needs of the world’s second -largest economy.
Shenyang, an industrial base that houses factories including carmaker BMW, reported 47 new cases on Tuesday when authorities put all housing compounds under “closed management” and prevented residents from leaving without a 48-hour negative test result.
Last week Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the need to “minimize the impact” of the epidemic on China’s economy, but also urged officials to “stick to” the current zero-Covid approach.
But Beijing’s virus handbook has been extended to the limit by the recent Omicron surge, which has forced authorities to free hospital beds from patients with mild symptoms.
Some cities like Shanghai have avoided full restrictions and instead imposed a network of individual building restrictions, although new daily asymptomatic infections there have risen to hundreds.
Jilin provincial officials announced on Monday that the first 10,000 doses of Pfizer’s oral Covid drug arrived on Sunday, marking the first time Paxlovid has been used in China.
The province last week imposed strict travel restrictions banning locals from leaving their cities and counties, while some cities have confined residents at home.
Shenzhen’s southern technology power center on Monday announced it would withdraw its shutdown for a week “in an orderly manner”, after partially reducing measures on Friday to minimize the impact of the viral shutdown on factories and ports.
Health officials last week revealed only about half of Chinese over the age of 80 had been vaccinated twice, as the specter of Covid’s severe death rate in Hong Kong-particularly among unvaccinated seniors-depended on Beijing’s decision.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)