Covid scare in China ahead of Communist party’s congress; 196.9mn affected by lockdowns | World News

BEIJING: The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) top mouthpiece, People’s Daily, has come out in support of the country’s “zero-Covid” policy even as large Chinese cities including Shanghai and Xian began new rounds of tests and restrictions after nearly 4,000 new cases were reported in the past two days across China.

The People’s Daily opinion piece asking people to “boost their patience” with the policy indicates that there will be no change in it even after the end of the upcoming 20th CPC national congress.

President Xi Jinping – set to secure a third term as China’s leader at the congress- has himself endorsed the “zero-Covid” policy despite its negative economic impact and people’s frustrations.

Shanghai, Xian and Shenzhen, among the largest Chinese cities, introduced mass tests, targeted lockdowns and shut down some schools and tourist places following small cluster outbreaks.

China’s national health commission (NHC) reported 427 locally transmitted confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 145 in Inner Mongolia and 82 in Xinjiang for Monday; A total of 1,662 local asymptomatic carriers were also reported.

On Monday, the Chinese mainland reported 373 locally transmitted Covid cases besides 1,566 asymptomatic ones for the day before.

Millions continue to face restrictions across the country. “According to government statistics and our survey, as of 10 October, 36 cities are currently implementing various levels of lockdowns or some kind of district-based control measures,” Nomura, investment bank and brokerage, said in a report on Monday.

The report estimated that around 196.9mn people are currently affected by the lockdown measures, up from 179.7mn in the previous week.

Lockdown fears returned to Shanghai after three of the city’s downtown districts on Monday ordered entertainment venues such as internet cafes to close temporarily.

“Xian, a historic city famous for terra-cotta warriors with the population of more than 13 million people in northwest China’s Shaanxi province announced on Tuesday to suspend onsite (offline) classes for some students amid the Covid-19 flare-ups,” the state-run tabloid, Global Times reported.

Compared internationally, the Covid numbers for the province and the city were low: Nine local confirmed Covid-19 cases in the province including four in Xian and 15 asymptomatic carriers including seven in Xian.

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