Huge Chinese city goes into lockdown over Covid-19
Some 4.5 million residents of China’s northeastern city of Jilin will have to follow a stay-at-home order starting Monday night as China announces a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, amid the country's largest Covid-19 outbreak in two years.
On Sunday, China recorded over four thousand new Covid cases, the highest number since the outbreak of the pandemic two years ago. Two-thirds of the recorded deaths occurred in China’s Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea
On Saturday, Beijing reported the deaths of two covid-positive patients in Jilin province. Both fatalities, according to Chinese authorities, had underlying health conditions and didn’t die due to their coronavirus infections. Before that, not a single covid-related death had been registered in China in more than a year.
Since March 11, Changchun, Jilin Province’s capital, has also been under restrictions. Its nine million people are only allowed to leave their houses to buy groceries, and not more often than once every two days.
Meanwhile, Beijing has eased the restrictions in the South of the country. China’s tech hub Shenzhen will partly lift its lockdown, imposed last week. The city’s public transport fully resumed on Monday but some non-essential businesses remain closed.
As China is recording the spike in covid cases, Beijing has reacted by sacking several high-ranking officials in Jilin Province, including the mayor of Jilin City. Zhang Lifeng, the Communist Party secretary and top manager at Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University, was fired following an on-campus outbreak. The state-run Global Times paper said he was dismissed for “negligence and an ineffective response” to the cluster of infections. Similarly, six officials were fired in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, including a deputy director of the provincial public-security department.