Nearly one million people have been locked down in a suburb of China’s central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first recorded.
Residents of Jiangxia district have been ordered to stay inside their homes or premises for three days after four asymptomatic COVID cases were detected. China follows a “zero COVID” strategy, which includes mass testing, strict isolation rules and local lockdowns.
This has resulted in far fewer deaths than in many other countries. But the strategy is facing growing opposition as people and businesses continue to meet the strain of sanctions.
In Wuhan, a city of 12 million people, routine testing revealed two asymptomatic cases two days ago. Two more cases were reported through contact tracing soon after the lockdown order was issued.
Wuhan became known worldwide in early 2020 as scientists detected the new coronavirus – and the first city to be placed under strict restrictive measures. At the time, the wider world was shocked by the strict lockdown, but many cities and countries were soon forced to implement similar measures.
Later, China became known as a Covid success story, with restrictions lifted much earlier than many other countries.
But that has changed again, as China has adopted a “zero COVID” strategy, which often results in local lockdowns rather than trying to live with the virus-like most other countries.
Last month, Shanghai – China’s sprawling financial capital with nearly 25 million residents – finally emerged from two months of strict lockdown. However, residents constantly adapt to the “new normal” of mass testing.
An increasing number of Chinese companies and factory production lines are maintaining a closed-loop system to adhere to the goal of eliminating COVID.
Employees have been asked to stay in their workplaces temporarily to keep parts of the economy open to reduce contact between work and home.
According to the US-based Johns Hopkins University, China has reported more than 2.2 million cases and 14,720 deaths since the pandemic began in 2019.