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15 Mar, 2022 02:00

China locks down millions as Covid outbreak grows

Jilin Province and the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan have been shut down to stop the spread
China locks down millions as Covid outbreak grows

Around 51 million people in China have been ordered to lock down as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in the country. Some 24 million people in Jilin Province, 17.5 million people in the city of Shenzhen, and 10 million people in the city of Dongguan were ordered into strict lockdowns and mandatory quarantines after China recorded its highest Covid-19 case numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since early 2020, officially reported daily cases of the coronavirus in China have numbered as low as single digits, with peak outbreaks rarely rising above more than a few hundred. However, cases shot up exponentially this month, fueled by the fast-spreading “stealth Omicron” variant, with authorities reporting 5,280 cases across the mainland on Tuesday alone.

While no deaths have been reported in mainland China, Hong Kong recorded at least 249 fatalities and some 26,908 new cases in just 24 hours on Monday, according to AP. However, the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, refused to tighten pandemic restrictions while assessing “whether the people would accept further measures.”

China has not recorded such high numbers of infections since February 2020, when the Covid-19 outbreak was at its peak in the country and went on to become a global pandemic. While many nations eventually adopted a policy of learning to live with the virus, Beijing has continued to stand firm in its ‘zero-covid’ strategy.