SHANGHAI (REUTERS) – China’s central metropolis of Wuhan temporarily shut some businesses and public transport in a district with almost a million people on Wednesday (July 27), as the city where the Covid-19 pandemic was first reported raised vigilance after several new infections.
China, heavily invested in its “dynamic Covid zero” policy, relies on mass testing, quick restriction on business activity and people’s movements and strict quarantine of cases to block nascent clusters from widening.
The strategy has helped Wuhan and other areas in the country to keep the number of cases in check, but harsh lockdowns during major outbreaks and the fear of potential repeated curbs whenever new cases are reported have dented the economy, business confidence and people’s willingness to travel.
Wuhan’s district of Jiangxia, with over 900,000 residents, said its main urban areas must enter a three-day restriction from Wednesday, during which it will ban many large group events and dining at restaurants, close various public entertainment venues, agricultural product marketplaces and small clinics and suspend bus and subway services.
It also urged residents not to leave the area during the three days and encouraged travellers to avoid entry.
The order came quickly after Jiangxia authorities said late on Tuesday they had detected two cases during regular testing drives and found another two from the screening of individuals who came in close contact with infection.
This comes as China reported 703 new coronavirus cases for Tuesday, of which 120 were symptomatic and 583 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
That compared with 976 new cases a day earlier – 148 symptomatic and 828 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.
There were no new deaths, leaving the nation’s fatalities at 5,226.
As of July 26, mainland China had confirmed 229,066 cases with symptoms.
China’s capital Beijing reported no new local cases, the same as the previous day, the local government said.
Shanghai reported two new local symptomatic cases, compared with four a day earlier, and 14 local asymptomatic case, versus 15 the previous day, local government data showed.
One case in Shanghai was reported outside quarantined areas, compared with three a day before.
The southern technology hub of Shenzhen reported four new local infections, compared with 19 a day earlier, one of which was symptomatic.
All of the cases in Shenzhen were found in quarantined areas.