Parts of China are reportedly going back into lockdown amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases in the country.
China has been keen to tout its success in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, the country’s 10th largest city. But as its major cities try to get back to business, fears of a second wave of cases are making that difficult.
Jia county in Henan province in central China has reportedly gone into a mid-sized lockdown with the area’s roughly 600,000 residents told to stay inside their homes earlier this week, The South China Morning Post reported.
Meanwhile all sporting bodies across the country have been banned from organising events that will draw large crowds until further notice, the country’s National Sports Bureau said in a directive issued on Tuesday.
On the weekend, China also moved to close its borders to foreigners fearing importing cases from the rest of the world which it said could trigger a second wave.
The country also announced it will delay its national college entrance exam by a month. The event is a major cultural event and goes a long way to determining the future of students.
The two-day annual test will be pushed back to July 7 and 8, with hard hit areas like Hubei province and the capital Beijing being given more leeway in re-scheduling it.
The delay to the test, seen as opening the way to a life of opportunity and taken by more than 10 million students last year, is the latest sign of China's struggle to resume normal life after widespread lockdowns aimed at reining in the virus.
Last week, a study in British medical journal the Lancet Public Health recommended that China extend school and workplace closures, since an earlier relaxation of curbs could bring a second peak in the outbreak by August.
New data from a survey of manufacturers showed that factory activity expanded in March from February's collapse as businesses returned to work, but analysts warned that slumping external demand could prevent a durable recovery.
There is deep scepticism among world leaders about the coronavirus figures reported by the Chinese government, including what some suspect is a considerable underreporting of deaths in Wuhan – ground zero of the pandemic.
China has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths but a classified report conducted by US intelligence officials and reportedly handed to the White House last week suggested the numbers China reported were significantly understated.
The British government meanwhile has also accused China of lying about the significance of the outbreak in the country, with British intelligence agencies saying the true number of cases could be higher by a factor of 15 to 40, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
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