Millions more sent into lockdown after Covid-19 'flare up'

Fresh Covid-19 restrictions were rolled out for millions more over the weekend as China's unwavering approach to the pandemic continues.

Cities in the nation's east responded to emerging coronavirus clusters that pose a new threat to China's economic recovery under the government's strict zero-COVID policy.

Wuxi, a manufacturing hub in the Yangtze Delta on the central coast, halted operations at many public venues located underground, including shops and supermarkets. Dine-in services in restaurants were suspended, and the government advised people to work from home.

Unverified video shows hundreds of pandemic workers descending on Wuxi after a spike in Covid-19 cases. Source: Weibo

City authorities urged residents not to leave Wuxi unless necessary, after reporting 42 new asymptomatic cases on Saturday.

Social media videos show waves of China's 'big white' pandemic workers taking to the streets and residential buildings.

Several Weibo users sympathised with the workers donning full PPE gear as temperatures surpassed 33C.

State media tried to reassure on Sunday the "flare ups" had little impact on economic activity, with the Global Times reporting businesses had learnt how to continue as the virus "lingers".

China continues to try to stamp out new infections as part of the strict approach taken in the country where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019.

No new deaths reported

President Xi Jinping has faced unprecedented levels of resistance from those facing draconian measures – one of his more significant challenges in his nine-year tenure.

But the lockdowns and other measures have taken a heavy toll on the world's second-biggest economy, particularly in Shanghai where 26 million fatigued residents faced weeks of lockdown earlier this year.

Si county in Anhui province has locked down its 760,000 residents and suspended public traffic as it reported 288 cases on Saturday. Anhui accounted for most of China's new infections, reporting 61 symptomatic and 231 asymptomatic cases for Saturday.

Mainland China recorded 473 new Covid-19 cases, of which 104 were symptomatic and 369 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Sunday. That compares with 268 new cases a day earlier - 72 symptomatic and 196 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

Xi Jinping's CPC government continues to disprove of Canberra's ongoing stance on China's behaviour in the region. Source: Getty
Xi Jinping has refused to budge on his Covid strategy despite the rest of the world opening up. Source: Getty

Yiwu, China's export capital for small commodities, cancelled flights to the capital, Beijing, for an unspecified period, state TV said, citing COVID prevention measures. Yiwu has reported three Covid-19 cases in the past week.

Shanghai, China's most populous city and financial hub, reported one positive case outside of quarantine areas in the city from midnight to 5pm on Sunday (local time).

The city lifted a lockdown on Friday after two months of shutdown that hit output and consumer spending. China's industrial production fell 2.9 per cent in April from a year earlier.

There were no new deaths, keeping the nation's death toll to 5,226. As of Saturday, mainland China had confirmed 225,851 cases with symptoms.

For Saturday, Beijing reported no new local cases, and Shanghai reported two local symptomatic cases, according to local government data.

With Reuters

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