China’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise in worst outbreak since Wuhan

Health officials said 2,125 cases have been reported in 58 cities in 19 of the 31 mainland provinces, marking the fourth consecutive day that China has reported more than 1,000 daily local cases. More than 10,000 cases have been reported since the last outbreak began in early March, the NHC said.

On Saturday, the commission reported 3,122 local cases – the highest number of daily infections since the Wuhan outbreak and the first time new cases exceeded 3,000 in one day, according to NHC data.

Throughout the pandemic, China has adhered to a strict zero Covid policy which aims to eradicate all outbreaks and chains of transmission using a combination of border controls, mass testing, quarantine procedures and lockdowns. .

Nearly half of the total number of infections in the latest outbreak have been reported in northeastern Jilin province, with 4,605 ​​cases since March 1, when the first clusters of cases in the border city of Jilin , Yanbian, have been identified, according to the provincial government.

The bulk of Sunday’s cases, 1,026, were also reported in Jilin province, according to the NHC. Jilin City, Jilin Province, has locked down 504 neighborhoods and launched eight rounds of mass testing, the municipal government said.

Two major Chinese cities – the northeastern industrial hub of Changchun and the southern economic hub of Shenzhen – are under lockdown, with more than 26 million residents banned from leaving their homes.

Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, recorded 66 positive cases on Saturday and health officials announced in a Sunday evening press release that from March 14 to March 20, all businesses in the city – except those deemed essential or supplying Hong Kong – would suspend operations or introduce work-from-home measures.

Public transport was also suspended, along with indoor restaurants, while all public places except grocery stores and pharmacies were closed, authorities said.

Shenzhen will conduct three rounds of mass PCR tests for all residents during the lockdown, according to the statement. Residents have been advised to avoid leaving the city unless necessary, and those who must travel must present a negative PCR result issued within 24 hours of leaving.

Apple’s main supplier, Foxconn, announced that it had suspended operations in Shenzhen to comply with Covid-19 restrictions in the city.

“The factory resumption date should be advised by the local government,” Foxconn said, adding “Due to our diverse production sites in China, we have adjusted the production line to minimize the potential impact.”

The restrictions imposed on Shenzhen appear to be less stringent than those imposed on Changchun, a city of 9 million that entered strict lockdown on Friday. Residents have been banned from leaving their homes, while only one person per household is allowed to shop every other day.

In Shanghai, 169 cases were reported on Sunday, bringing its total number of infections in this latest outbreak to at least 778 since March 1. according to the town hall

The city has launched a “2+12” policy requiring people in the same neighborhood, workplace or school with close contact with Covid cases to undergo two days of home isolation and 12 days of health surveillance, according to the municipal government. The city has also advised its 24.87 million residents not to leave the city unless necessary.

Chinese authorities have come under pressure to bring outbreaks under control and been chastised by senior administrations for their “poor performance” as cases rise.

China has sacked at least 26 government officials this month in cities where outbreaks have occurred, including a mayor and a director of the municipal health commission in Jilin province, as well as a vice mayor and a deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Police Department.

CNN’s Eric Cheung, Wayne Chang, Yong Xiong and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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