China’s big cities, from Dalian to Shenzhen, ramp up COVID curbs

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BEIJING/SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 30 (Reuters) – Several of China’s largest cities on Tuesday imposed tougher COVID-19 restrictions, further restricting the activities of tens of millions and raising new concerns about the health of a barely expanding economy.

Metropolises from the southern tech hub of Shenzhen to southwestern Chengdu and the northeastern port of Dalian ordered measures such as lockdowns in major districts and business closures to stamp out new outbreaks.

The latest curbs, which for some will delay the start of the school year, reflect China’s strict adherence to a “dynamic COVID-zero” policy to quash any flare-ups.

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That insistence makes it an outlier, as the rest of the world tries to live with the coronavirus, despite the cost to the world’s second-largest economy.

While many of the measures are initially planned for just a few days, any major escalation or expansion in some of China’s largest cities threatens to further hurt already lukewarm growth. read more

While the two most populous cities of Beijing and Shanghai have had only sporadic cases recently, COVID concerns still weighed on Chinese stocks.

“Markets could be hit again in the coming weeks, likely triggering another round of austerity measures by economists on the streets,” Nomura warned in a note, stressing the importance of cities like Shenzhen, also an important port.

On Tuesday, the Shenzhen district of Longhua, which has a population of 2.5 million, closed nightlife and wholesale markets and suspended major events.

People must show evidence of negative test results within 24 hours to enter residential complexes, and restaurants must limit customers to half capacity, Longhua district authorities said. The new curbs will run through Saturday.

The measures followed similar measures on Monday, which affected three other districts that affected more than 6 million in Shenzhen, which has been battling outbreaks of Omicron subvariants this year.

City officials have called off a general delay for the new school year, but six parents of young children said their schools had notified them of the postponement, as many in chat groups with parents expressed concern about the uncertainty.

PORT CITY CLOSES DISTRICT

In Dalian, a major import hub for soybeans and iron ore, a lockdown that started on Tuesday will last until Sunday in key urban areas of around 3 million inhabitants. Households are allowed to send one person each day to run errands for daily needs.

The lockdown will require non-essential workers to work from home, while manufacturing companies will have to cut staff on site and carry out only basic and urgent operations.

The southwestern city of Chengdu, with a population of 21 million, has ordered the general closure of public entertainment and cultural venues from Tuesday.

It planned to delay the start of the fall school semester and required residents to have proof of negative test result within 24 hours before entering certain areas.

The northern municipality of Tianjin, home to 13.7 million people, has begun a new round of city-wide COVID tests, the fourth since Saturday.

The city of Tianjin said it would delay the resumption of offline classes for many schools.

In the northern city of Shijiazhuang, about a 3 1/2-hour drive from Beijing, four major districts have ordered more than 3 million people to work from home until Wednesday afternoon, excluding those with essential jobs.

Mainland China reported 1,717 domestically transmitted COVID infections for Aug. 29, 349 of these symptomatic and 1,368 asymptomatic, official data showed Tuesday.

Of more than 20 places that reported infections on Monday, Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan province, of which Chengdu is the capital, were responsible for the majority of daily cases.

Qinghai’s capital, Xining, with a population of 2.5 million, ordered a lockdown in key urban areas from Monday to Thursday morning, halting public transportation and restricting traffic.

Cases are on the rise in Hong Kong, which does not have the same zero-COVID measures as mainland China, with government advisers forecasting a daily number of 10,000 infections this week, fueling fears of a tightening of the just-eased curbs.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Ryan Woo, David Kirton and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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