Chinese city of 9 million goes into lockdown as Covid cases rise – Manila Bulletin

SHANGHAI, China — A northeast Chinese city of nine million people was ordered to close on Friday, as authorities scramble to stop a new Covid-19 outbreak that has pushed the number nationwide caseload to its highest level in two years.

Changchun, the capital of Jilin province and a major industrial base, ordered residents to work from home. One person will be allowed to go out every other day to buy ‘daily necessities’, and said it would institute mass testing.

After the highly transmissible variant of Omicron breached Chinese defences, Covid cases across the country topped the 1,000 mark this week for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, from less than 100 it just three weeks ago.

There have been 1,369 cases in more than a dozen provinces, according to the latest official daily tally released earlier on Friday.

Also on Friday, Shanghai ordered its schools to close and move to online education.

Covid-19 was first detected in China in late 2019, but the government largely brought it under control with instant lockdowns and mass testing, while keeping its borders mostly closed.

As a result, its case count is extremely low by international standards.

But the aggressive approach has caused pandemic fatigue in China.

The country’s central economic planning agency recently warned that major lockdowns could harm the economy, and a top Chinese scientist has suggested the country should aim to coexist with the virus, like other nations.

The government has invested much of its prestige in its ability to control Covid, however, and Friday’s measures seemed to pour water on hopes that China would soon abandon its zero-tolerance approach.

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