Asia report 2


Two of China’s biggest cities have imposed controls on movement to try to curb outbreaks of Covid-19 but are so far avoiding the harsh restrictions imposed in Shanghai earlier this year.

Tech hub Shenzhen, home to more than 12 million people, expanded its lockdown measures to six of the city’s major districts on Friday, with residents in Futian, Luohu, Longhua, Longgang, Nanshan, and Baoan told to suspend “unnecessary movement and activities”.

People living in those areas will also have to go through two rounds of Covid-19 tests this weekend, according to the city government.

Cases in the city have been rising steadily since late August. Shenzhen health authorities reported a total of 87 new cases on Saturday, 54 of them symptomatic. It was the highest total in a week.

Public transport and restaurant dining has also been suspended in these areas but residents can still move freely as long as they have had a negative PCR test within the previous 24 hours.

In Chengdu, home to more than 21 million people, health authorities reported 108 new cases on Saturday – all but five of them symptomatic. The total was 49 fewer than a day earlier.

Chengdu has been under a citywide lockdown since Thursday, the second of the country’s megacities to impose such orders after Shanghai locked down for months early this year.

Citywide testing started on Thursday and will continue until Sunday, according to the municipal government.

Cities throughout the country are stepping up testing, with all provinces and regions reporting coronavirus cases – both local and imported – in the last two weeks.

In the northeast, Dalian, the commercial hub of Liaoning province, reported six new symptomatic and 106 asymptomatic cases.

Authorities said half of the cases could be traced to wet markets and 20 per cent of the infections might have occurred on public transport.

Daqing, a major oil production center in the country’s north province of Heilongjiang, has also locked down major districts, reporting 64 new symptomatic and 168 asymptomatic cases.

But Changchun, in neighboring Jilin province, reported just three fresh symptomatic and 30 asymptomatic cases.

Throughout the country, 440 symptomatic cases and 1,379 asymptomatic cases were reported on Friday.

More than two dozen cities around the country have had some form of coronavirus controls in effect since late August, with the affected regions accounting for 15.7 per cent of China’s GDP in 2021, according to financial services firm Nomura.

However, local governments have been keen not to have a repeat of the chaos experienced during the Shanghai lockdown earlier this year, when the city’s population were confined to their homes for two months, upending supply chains and lives.

In most of the lockdown communities, basic necessities are delivered by volunteers. And in Chengdu and Shenzhen, supermarkets, pharmacies and health facilities remain open.

However, a Daqing resident said there was a shortage of personal care items in her small neighborhood and she had turned to social media to get supplies.

Source: September 3, 2022 | By Zhao Ziwen