In China “zero COVID”, 1 case locks Peking University

People line up for their routine COVID-19 tests at a coronavirus testing site in a tunnel in Beijing's central business district, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. Chinese authorities shut down a major university in Beijing on Wednesday after found a COVID -19 case as they stick to a "zero-COVID" approach despite growing public discontent.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

People line up for their routine COVID-19 tests at a coronavirus testing site in a tunnel in Beijing’s central business district, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. Chinese authorities shut down a major university in Beijing on Wednesday after found a COVID -19 case as they stick to a “zero-COVID” approach despite growing public discontent. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

PA

Chinese authorities closed a major university in Beijing on Wednesday after finding a case of COVID-19 as they stick to a “zero-COVID” approach despite growing public discontent.

Peking University students and faculty have not been allowed to leave the premises unless necessary and classes have been moved online to the main campus until Friday, a notice from the university.

Beijing has reported more than 350 new cases in the past 24 hours, a small fraction of its 21 million population but enough to trigger localized lockdowns and quarantines under China’s “zero-COVID” strategy. Nationally, China has reported around 20,000 cases, up from around 8,000 a week ago.

Authorities are moving away from citywide shutdowns to try to minimize the impact on freedom of movement and the sagging economy. They want to avoid a repeat of Shanghai’s lockdown earlier this year that crippled shipping and sparked neighborhood protests. Revised national guidelines released last week called on local governments to follow a focused, science-based approach that avoids unnecessary measures.

This still locks down buildings and sometimes wider areas when cases are detected. Protests erupted in the southern city of Guangzhou earlier this week in a densely built-up area that is home to migrant workers in the garment industry. Videos posted online showed crowds tearing down barriers, although what exactly disturbed them was unclear.

Guangzhou, an industrial export hub near Hong Kong, has reported more than 6,000 new cases in what is the country’s largest ongoing outbreak. Other cities with major outbreaks include Chongqing in the southwest, Zhengzhou in Henan province and Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolia region in the north.

In Zhengzhou late last month, workers fled their dormitories at a sprawling iPhone factory, some climbing fences to get out. Apple later warned that customers would face delays in shipments of iPhone14 Pro models.

Chinese officials and state media have stressed the government is refining but not abandoning what it calls a “vibrant” zero COVID policy, after rumors of easing sparked a stock market rally earlier this month.

This story was originally published November 16, 2022 12:54 a.m.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.