Beijing: The deadly coronavirus has once again started to spread its wings rapidly in China, from where the virus has spread all over the world. Tens of millions of people have to go under lockdown in China on Wednesday as traders in a major tourist city were asked to shut their businesses due to fresh COVID cases. The return of complete lockdown is on the cards.
As per the health authorities’ statement, over 300 new cases were detected on Wednesday. Most of the cases have come in the historic northern city of Xi’an—home to the Terracotta Army—and the biggest city in China, Shanghai.
The surge in cases has increased the fear in the minds of people that the country may have to face strict restrictions like earlier this year.
Several residents in Shanghai reported on social media on Tuesday that they were getting government food rations. People are posting their views on social media. One of them posted that “I’m so nervous; the epidemic has destroyed my youth.” I’m about to go crazy, “posted another Shanghai-based Weibo user.
Mass COVID testing has been launched again in several parts of China after the rapid return of cases.
Xi’an—a historic city of 13 million that endured a month-long lockdown at the end of last year—was placed back under “temporary control measures” after 29 infections were found, mostly among waste recycling workers, since Saturday.
The majority of public entertainment venues such as pubs, internet cafes, and karaoke bars have to shut their doors at midnight on Wednesday, the city government said in a notice.
The fresh outbreaks have created a new challenge to President Xi Jinping, who last week strongly favoured his commitment to zero COVID in spite of the rising economic cost.
Officials have blamed the city’s outbreak on the BA.5.2 sublineage of the Omicron variant, which is more transmissible and immune-evasive.