China grapples with highest number of coronavirus cases since April, raising questions about its zero covid policy which has frustrated the public and caused damage to the world’s second largest economy. According to data from the health authority, the number of new domestic cases rose to 8,824 on Wednesday.
China has repeatedly said it would adhere to its zero-covid policy despite growing outbreaks, but pressure is mounting on the central government to curb overzealous authorities in the provinces, fearing that they will have not contained the virus.
Thousands of government officials have been punished for various alleged shortcomings in the nearly three years of the pandemic.
“All places will further improve the level of scientific and accurate prevention and control, strive for the greatest prevention and control effect at the lowest cost, and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,” Xinhua reported.
It cited improvements in the implementation of measures in some major cities such as Zhengzhou, in central Henan province.
When infections were found in certain buildings in Zhengzhou, only surrounding areas were closed and the entire community was not “arbitrarily checked,” Xinhua reported.
The economic costs of COVID in China, where the virus first emerged in December 2019, is being felt across most sectors.
Haima Automobile said logistics and personnel movements at the Zhengzhou base have been severely affected by Covid-19 since October.
This month, Apple supplier and iPhone assembler Foxconn was rocked by dissatisfaction with the strict Covid measures, with many employees fleeing the site.
In Guangzhou, a southern city of about 19 million, where more than 2,000 cases were reported Thursday for the third day in a row, officials have begun mass testing, resisting a citywide lockdown for now.
But some residents suspect there will be a lockdown this year, as the financial center of Shanghai has endured for months this year.
Mason Longwho works for a gaming company in Guangzhou, said a complete lockdown could take place, with most of the city’s 11 districts already in place of some form of new Covid mitigation.
“The Panyu district just announced it’s restricting entry and exit, so that’s three districts to announce that,” Long said.
“The rest of us in other districts are very concerned that this will apply to the entire city and that we will have to deal with a Shanghai-style lockdown. Personally, I think it could.”
Many people have already moved to other cities, or plan to do so, he said.