Home / News / World /  COVID-19 lockdown, mass testing in China despite minor cases - here’s why

As authorities stepped up their efforts to suppress COVID-19 ahead of a significant ruling Communist Party gathering, millions of people in the provinces around Beijing were put under lockdown on August 30. As authorities scramble to contain a minor virus flare-up, nearly 40 lakh residents of Hebei province, which encircles China's capital, have been told to stay at home till the end of the week.

Also Read: US suspends 26 Chinese flights in response to Beijing's similar action

In preparation for the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party, which is scheduled to take place within the next three months, Beijing has strengthened its stance on the issue. President Xi Jinping, who will be inaugurated for an unprecedented third term in power during the conference, is largely regarded as leaving behind a political legacy that is heavily influenced by how he handled the pandemic.

And, after 51 relatively minor cases were discovered, more than 1.3 crore people in the nearby port city of Tianjin must undergo mass testing. Lockdowns, travel bans, and mass testing have disrupted businesses and slowed growth in China, the only major economy in the world to maintain a zero-Covid policy.

Also Read: China's Covid cases hit three month high on beach town surge

However, the actual COVID-19 situation in China may be getting worse as Omicron has once more expanded to major cities, claims Nomura analyst Ting Lu in a research report. Significant travel restrictions have also been imposed on Chengdu, the biggest city in western China.

Two districts in Shenzhen, a southern tech hub, are partially under lockdown, and Huaqiangbei, the largest electronics market in the world, is now closed, despite the fact that there are only 35 cases recorded per day in the metropolis of more than 1.8 crore people.

Also Read: China reopens doors for foreign students after two years

"The notice to close came abruptly, we only had a few hours to put our stock into warehouses and lock up," a trader at the Huaqiangbei tech market, who only offered his last name Chen, told AFP.

Large-scale public events have been postponed in Futian, where the city government is located, and parks, karaoke bars, and theatres are all closed until Friday. Despite the fact that no incidents were reported there, authorities also sealed off the Wanxia neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city, which provides migrant workers and delivery drivers with modest accommodation.

(With agency inputs)

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