China locks down 65 million people as holiday travel peak looms

·2-min read

Millions of Chinese citizens have been thrown into lockdown again as China continues its unwavering Covid-zero strategy.

About 65 million people from multiple cities are still facing tough Covid-19 restrictions with the authorities discouraging domestic travel during upcoming national holidays.

China's mid-autumn festival, or Moon Festival, the country's second-most important holiday after the Lunar New Year, falls on September 10-12 this year but many will spend the long weekend holed up in their homes.

Another 65 million people in China have gone into lockdown again. Source: AP
Another 65 million people in China have gone into lockdown again. Source: AP

Thirty-three cities including seven provincial capitals are under full or partial lockdown, according to a tally published late Sunday by the Chinese business magazine Caixin.

Outbreaks have been reported in 103 cities, the highest since the early days of the pandemic in early 2020.

Million confined to apartments

Most of the 21 million people in the southwestern city of Chengdu are confined to their apartments or residential complexes, while in the eastern port city of Tianjin, classes have been moved online after 14 new cases were reported, all but two showing no symptoms.

Chengdu lifted the lockdown for about 1 million people in Qionglai city and Xinjin district, two areas in its southwest. Three more rounds of mass testing are being held through Wednesday and schools remain closed with all classes online.

China recorded 1,552 new cases in the latest 24-hour period across a nation of 1.4 billion people, the National Health Commission reported Monday.

Despite a relatively low number of infections, authorities have adhered to a "zero-Covid" policy requiring lockdowns, quarantines and the confining of people suspected of being in close contact with any confirmed case.

China continues with its Covid-zero approach despite the upcoming holiday season. Source: AP
China continues with its Covid-zero approach despite the upcoming holiday season. Source: AP

Issue China is facing

The anti-virus measures have taken a major toll on the economy, travel and society in general, but China's ruling Communist Party says they are necessary to prevent a wider spread of the virus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

The fear of being caught in a lockdown or sent to a quarantine facility for even being in proximity with a person who tested positive has severely constrained people’s work, socialising and travel habits.

Since the outbreak began, China has placed tens of millions of people under lockdowns that have been strictly enforced, sometimes preventing residents from obtaining food, health care and basic necessities.

A more than five-week closure of Shanghai, China's largest city and key financial hub, earlier this year upended the local economy, prompting protests and led to an exodus of foreign residents.

with AP

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