COVID-19

Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID-19

Reuters
Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID-19

COVID-19 IN SHENZEN. Volunteers arrive to a primary school repurposed for virus control efforts in Futian district, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China on August 31, 2022.

David Kirton/Reuters

The moves curtail the activities of tens of millions of people, intensifying the challenges for China to minimize the economic impact of its 'dynamic-zero' COVID-19 policy

SHENZHEN, China – One of China’s biggest cities, Chengdu, announced a lockdown of its 21.2 million residents as it launched four days of citywide COVID-19 testing, as some of country’s most populous and economically important urban centers battle outbreaks.

All residents in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, were ordered to stay largely at home from 6 pm on Thursday, September 1, with households allowed to send one person per day to shop for necessities, the city government said in a statement.

Chengdu is the largest city to be locked down since Shanghai was shut for two months earlier this year. It remained unclear whether the lockdown will be lifted after the mass testing scheme is carried out through to Sunday.

Other major cities including Shenzhen in the south and Dalian in the northeast have also stepped up COVID-19 restrictions this week, ranging from work-from-home requirements to the closure of entertainment businesses in some big districts.

The moves curtail the activities of tens of millions of people, intensifying the challenges for China to minimize the economic impact of a “dynamic-zero” COVID-19 policy that has kept China’s borders mostly shut to international visitors and make it a outlier as other countries try to live with the coronavirus.

Most of the curbs are intended to last for a few days for now, although two provincial cities in northern China have extended curbs slightly beyond initial promises.

Non-essential sector employees in Chengdu were asked to work from home, and residents were urged not to leave the city unless needed. Residents who must leave their residential compounds for hospital visits or other special needs must obtain approval from neighbourhood staffers.

Industrial firms engaged in important manufacturing and able to manage on closed campuses were exempted from work-from-home requirements.

Flights to and from Chengdu were dramatically cut back, according to Flight Master data. At 10 am local time (0200 GMT) on Thursday, it showed 398 flights were cancelled at Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu, with a cancellation rate of 62%. At Chengdu’s Tianfu Airport, 79%, or 725 flights, were cancelled.

In Shenzhen, a bustling tech and transport hub bordering Hong Kong, the city’s most populous district, Baoan, on Thursday suspended large events and indoor entertainment for three days and ordered stricter checks of people’s digital health credentials when they enter residential compounds.

Including Baoan, at least half of Shenzhen’s ten districts, home to over 13 million people, have ordered blanket closures of entertainment venues and halted or reduced restaurant dining for a few days, with curbs in two districts expected to be lifted by the end of Thursday.

Data on Thursday showed that Chinese factory activity contracted for the first time in three months in August amid weakening demand, while power shortages and fresh COVID-19 flare-ups disrupted production. – Rappler.com

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