China closes city of 17.5 million in bid to halt Covid outbreak | China

The Chinese government has responded to a sharp rise in coronavirus infections by closing its business center in southern Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million, and restricting access to Shanghai by suspending bus services .

Everyone in Shenzhen, a financial and technology hub that adjoins Hong Kong, will undergo three rounds of testing after 60 new cases were reported on Sunday. All businesses except those providing food, fuel and other necessities have been ordered to close or work from home.

The number of cases in China’s latest outbreak of infections is low compared to other countries and Hong Kong, which reported more than 32,000 on Sunday. The mainland government reported 1,938 new cases. That’s more than triple Saturday’s total. Mainland authorities are enforcing a “zero tolerance” strategy and have locked down entire cities to find and isolate every infected person.

About three-quarters, or 1,412 cases, were in northeast Jilin province, where the industrial metropolis of Changchun was placed under lockdown on Friday and families were told to stay home after a wave of coronavirus outbreaks. infections.

Shenzhen is home to some of China’s biggest companies, including telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Ltd., electric car brand BYD Auto, Ping An Insurance Co. and Tencent Holding, operator of popular messaging service WeChat.

China, where the first coronavirus cases were detected in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan, has reported a total of 4,636 mainland deaths out of 115,466 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

In Shanghai, China’s most populous city with 24 million people, the number of cases in the latest wave rose by 15 to 432.

“Those coming or returning to Shanghai must have a negative nucleic acid test report within 48 hours before arrival,” a statement from the city’s health agency said.

In Hong Kong, a health official warned the public not to assume the territory’s deadly coronavirus outbreak was under control as the government reported 190 new deaths, mostly elderly, and 32,430 new cases. That’s down from more than 50,000 after tough travel and business restrictions were imposed.

Hong Kong, a crowded financial hub of 7.4 million people, is trying to contain an outbreak that has killed 3,993 people, most in the latest wave brought on by the Omicron variant, and overwhelmed hospitals.

“People should not have the false impression that the virus situation is now under control,” said Dr Albert Au, an expert with the government’s Center for Health Protection. “Once we let our guard down, it’s possible that (infections) will rebound and rise again.”

Construction teams sent from the mainland have built temporary isolation centers in Hong Kong for thousands of patients.

On the mainland, 831 new cases were reported in Changchun, 571 in the nearby city of Jilin and 150 in the eastern port city of Qingdao.

Jilin authorities are stepping up anti-disease measures after concluding that their previous response was inadequate, according to Zhang Yan, deputy director of the provincial health commission.

“The emergency response mechanism in some areas is not strong enough,” Zhang told a news conference.

Some residents of Cangzhou, south of Beijing, have also been told to stay at home after nine cases were reported there, according to a government advisory.

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