- Zubaida Abdul Jalil and Annabelle Liang
- BBC News
Schools, home offices are closed and packages are sprayed with disinfectant on the doors of the house.
Scenes from two years ago in China, in the most severe period of confinement amid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, were seen again in some of the big cities of the Asian giant.
Millions of people across the country are now facing severe restrictions again as coronavirus cases rise. Among the areas affected by the new measures are some of the country’s major hubs, such as the technology hub of Shenzhen and the megacity of Shanghai.
Large multinational companies have halted operations as China expands into closed areas.
Among the companies affected are Toyota, Volkswagen and Apple supplier Foxconn, and there are fears that supply chains could once again be disrupted.
China on Tuesday reported a record high of more than 5,000 cases, most of them in Jilin Province, prompting authorities to implement a lockdown in the region.
And 24 million residents of this northeastern province were forced to remain in quarantine last Monday (3/14).
This is the first time that China has imposed restrictions on an entire province since the lockdown of Wuhan and Hebei, where the coronavirus was initially detected, at the start of the epidemic.
Jilin residents have been banned from moving around and anyone who wants to leave the province must apply for a police permit.
The measures come a day after the Chinese government imposed a five-day lockdown on 12.5 million residents of the southern city of Shenzhen, suspending all bus and subway services.
On Tuesday, authorities in the city of Langfang, which borders the capital Beijing, as well as Dongguan in the southern province of Guangdong, imposed restrictions on their residents.
Businesses in many affected areas have been directed to close or have their employees work from home unless they provide essential services such as food, utilities or other necessities.
Foxconn, which makes iPhones for Apple, suspended operations in Shenzhen on Monday, saying the date of its resumption “will be announced by the local government.”
Some residential areas impose strict rules on who can enter.
The packages are again sprayed with disinfectants on the doors of the houses.
China has recorded relatively fewer Covid cases thanks to its strict “covid zero” policy, as the central government implements lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions whenever a new outbreak occurs.
However, the omicron variant’s fast transmissibility made this task increasingly difficult.
Since the beginning of the year, China has reported more cases of internal transmission than in the whole of 2021.
China’s top infectious disease expert, Zhang Wenhong, described the recent outbreaks as “the most difficult period in the past two years for the fight against Covid.”
In a widely circulated online post, she said the country was still “in the early stages of exponential growth”.
But Wenhong added that while it is necessary for China to maintain its “zero-Covid” strategy to control the outbreak for now, “it does not necessarily mean that we will continue to implement lockdowns and mass testing forever.”
Have you seen our new videos on Youtube? Subscribe to our channel!
“Gamers. Unfortunate Twitter teachers. Zombie pioneers. Internet fans. Hardcore thinkers.”
White Noise: People who make money recording sounds like rain and washing machine
Bolsonaro summons foreign ambassadors to speak out against electronic voting machines on Monday
Understanding why the appearance of a giant paddlefish causes fear in Chileans (video)