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Chinese cities tighten curbs on growing COVID outbreaks

China on Thursday reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases across the country for the third day in a row.

Chinese cities, from Wuhan in central China to Xining in the northwest, are ramping up measures to curb COVID-19, sealing buildings and shutting down districts in a fight to stem widening outbreaks.

China on Thursday reported more than 1,000 new COVID cases across the country for the third consecutive day, a modest figure compared to the tens of thousands a day that brought Shanghai into a full lockdown earlier this year, but enough to trigger further restrictions across the country.

China’s number of COVID cases has remained small by global standards, but its ultra-strict and disruptive containment measures this year against the highly transmissible Omicron variant have weighed heavily on the world’s second-largest economy, rattled financial markets and they angered the public.

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Guangzhou, China’s fourth-largest city by economic output and the provincial capital of Guangdong, sealed off more streets and neighborhoods on Thursday and kept people in their homes as new areas were deemed high-risk in a resurgence of COVID that has persisted into its fourth week. .

Wuhan, the site of the world’s first COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019, reported only 20 to 25 new infections per day this week. However, local authorities ordered more than 800,000 people in one district to stay home until October 30.

Wuhan has also suspended the sale of pork in parts of the city, according to images and social media posts, after authorities said a COVID case was linked to the local pork supply chain.

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In Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, social media posts spoke of food shortages and inflated prices for essential goods as health authorities in the city of 2.5 million people scrambled to contain a COVID rebound after the National Day holiday week in early October.

“To reduce the risk of transmission, some fruit and vegetable stores have been closed and quarantined,” a Xining government official said on Wednesday.

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Other big cities in China, including Zhengzhou, Datong and Xian, have implemented new restrictions this week to control local outbreaks.

In Beijing, the Universal Resort theme park was closed on Wednesday after at least one visitor tested positive for COVID.

China has repeatedly pledged to stick to its zero-tolerance response to COVID and implement what authorities see as necessary measures to contain the virus.

Public anger has also increased over the continuation of the draconian zero COVID policy.

A video shared on social media last week showing a seriously ill teenager apparently being ignored at a COVID-19 quarantine center in Henan province received hundreds of thousands of comments and angry calls for a full investigation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to stick to a hard-line zero COVID policy despite mounting public frustration and its toll on the economy.

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