COVID-19: 1.7 million people confined in China

COVID-19: 1.7 million people confined in China


China has placed 1.7 million people in lockdown in eastern Anhui province, where some 300 new Covid cases were reported on Monday as part of an upsurge in the epidemic in certain regions. 

The Asian giant is taking a firm approach to the virus, with major screening campaigns, mandatory quarantines and confinements as soon as a few outbreaks appear. case.

The renewed epidemic in Anhui comes at a time when the Chinese economy is slowly recovering from the confinement of Shanghai, lifted at the beginning of July after several months.

Two townships in the province, Sixian and Lingbi, have announced lockdowns affecting more than 1.7 million people. They can only leave their homes to get tested.

State broadcaster CCTV broadcast footage of empty streets in Sixian over the weekend, with residents queuing to take their sixth PCR test in a few days.

The Ministry of Health reported 287 new positive cases for Anhui on Monday, bringing the total for the province to more than 1,000 in recent days.

Provincial Governor Wang Qingxian , urged authorities to “implement rapid testing” as well as quarantine and reporting of cases as soon as possible.

Neighboring Jiangsu province also reported 56 new cases in four cities.

Photos circulating on social media and verified by AFP show hundreds of people dressed in full protective suits queuing in Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu. They are apparently waiting to board buses to reach quarantine centres.

Some photos show babies dressed in blue protective clothing, carried on their shoulders by people dragging suitcases and waiting outside a hospital in stifling heat. Temperatures in Wuxi have reached 36 degrees in recent days.

The number of cases remains very low in China compared to the vast majority of other countries.

But the authorities intend limit the circulation of the virus as much as possible due to the limited medical resources in some places and the relatively low rate of vaccination among the elderly.

This strategy, however, weighs heavily on the economy of the Asian giant.

The only notable relaxation taken in recent weeks by the authorities: quarantine on arrival in China is now reduced to 10 days, compared to at least 21 initially.