China recorded its highest number of COVID-19 cases since May on Saturday and millions of people across the country were spending the weekend in lockdown under a strict “zero COVID” policy.< /strong>
China is the last major country in the world to pursue the goal of eliminating the epidemic through lockdowns, long quarantines and mass testing, even though this strategy has a heavy impact on the economy.
A total of 450 mostly asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were recorded nationwide on Saturday, compared to 432 the previous day, authorities said.
This increase in cases has led to this week the adoption of new restrictions in several regions of the country.
Lanzhou, the capital of northwestern Gansu province, on Wednesday ordered its 4.4 million residents to stay at home. One of the counties in eastern Anhui province has been on lockdown since Friday.
Earlier this week, a general lockdown was imposed on Wugang, a major steel center in Henan province (central ), after the discovery of a single case of COVID-19.
In Beihai, in the province of Guangxi (south), the authorities announced on Saturday partial confinements in two districts with more than 800,000 inhabitants
“Currently, the epidemic prevention and control situation in Beihai City is serious and complicated, and the risk of creeping transmission in the community is relatively high,” said a government notice announcing restrictions.
The faster-spreading Omicron variant poses a major challenge to China's “zero COVID” policy.
The country has seen its economic growth s collapsed in the second quarter to post its worst performance since 2020, due in particular to health restrictions areas.