China’s authorities state that roughly 31,000 new cases could be confirmed during the day on Wednesday. Roughly 27,500 of those infected are reported to have no symptoms.
The number is relatively low compared to China’s population of around 1.4 billion people, but high considering that the country’s party government has for almost three years sought to curb the spread of infection with draconian lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.
Regulated big cities
The reported infection numbers have risen in recent weeks.
In connection with that, new rules and restrictions have been introduced for many millions of residents in giant cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Canton (Guangzhou) and Chongqing.
In the capital Beijing, people are not allowed to stay in public places such as shopping malls, hotels and government buildings unless they can show negative results from PCR tests that are less than 48 hours old.
A hospital has opened in a fair hall. School activities are managed remotely. And a two-metre-high fence has been erected around a larger residential area, which indicates that the restrictions will remain in place for some time to come.
In Canton, thousands of temporary care places have been set up.
Entire factory town was isolated
In Zhengzhou, a city of around 10 million people, all residents are forced to stay at home for five days, except when shopping for food or attending to medical needs. City authorities have declared “war” on the virus with the express aim of eradicating it. Mass testing will be conducted daily.
In the same city, clashes took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in connection with large factory protests, which is rare in the tightly governed country.
200,000 employees in the company Foxconn’s factory have for some time been forced to both work and live within the huge factory facility, when the discovery of a few covid cases earlier this fall led to the entire area being isolated.
In the clashes, hundreds of employees were seen grappling with security guards in protective suits.
Backs off attempts
Earlier in November, China’s central government signaled a step back from the zero tolerance that has been a guiding light in recent years, when, among other things, quarantine rules for entering the country were eased.
In Shijiazhuang, just south of Beijing, more rules were relaxed than in most other places, in what came to be seen as a test of a new covid policy. But the rules were tightened again earlier this week.
85 percent of China’s residents over the age of 60 had received two doses of the covid vaccine by mid-August, authorities said at the time. These people have received indigenous vaccine variants and not more effective mRNA vaccines, as these have not yet been approved.