UPDATE 1-Foxconn persists with COVID restrictions at Zhengzhou plant as district lifts lockdown

SUMMARY 1-COVID cases in China are stable as many businesses and schools in Beijing are closed

BEIJING, Nov 20 (Reuters) – The number of new coronavirus cases remained stable in China near April peaks on Sunday as many shops and restaurants in Beijing’s most populous district were closed and schools in the area said classes would be online for the coming week.

China is battling COVID-19 outbreaks in cities across the country, including Guangzhou and Chongqing, even as it tries to blunt the impact of harsh lockdown measures that are dampening the economy and raising people’s frustration who are tired of shutdowns, quarantines and other disruptions.

China on Sunday reported 24,435 new COVID-19 infections for Nov. 19, down slightly from 24,473 a day earlier but near highs recorded in April when Shanghai, the country’s largest city, was amid an outbreak resulting in a crushing two-month lockdown.

Authorities also said an 87-year-old Beijing man became the first official death from COVID-19 since May 26, bringing China’s coronavirus death toll to 5,227.

While the official number of infections is low by global standards, China is trying to eradicate every chain of infection under a zero COVID-19 policy that makes it a global outlier nearly three years later. the start of the pandemic.

Many Beijing residents rushed to stock up on food and some delivery services faced delays after the city urged residents of the sprawling Chaoyang District, home to nearly 3.5 million people as well as embassies and office towers, to stay at home over the weekend.

Parents of international schools in the district have been informed that classes will be online for the coming week: “As COVID-19 has spread to multiple locations and with complex chains of transmission, schools in Chaoyang District will to online learning,” one such notice said.

Hairdressers in nearby Dongcheng District were also ordered to close.

As part of a series of measures unveiled this month, Chinese health authorities have sought to be more targeted in enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, sparking recent hopes among investors for further easing even then. as China faces its first winter battling the highly transmissible variant of Omicron.

China continues to reiterate its commitment to zero-COVID-19, a signature policy of President Xi Jinping that the central government says saves lives. Many analysts expect significant easing to begin in March or April at the earliest.

Experts warn that fully reopening requires a massive vaccination booster effort and would also necessitate a change in messaging in a country where COVID-19 remains widely feared.

In the latest counts, the city of Beijing reported 621 new infections for Saturday, down from 515 a day earlier.

Guangzhou, a southern city of nearly 19 million people, reported 8,434 new locally transmitted infections, down from 8,713 the day before. The southwest metropolis of Chongqing reported 4,710 new locally transmitted infections, down from 4,744 a day earlier. (Reporting by Sophie Yu and Tony Munroe; Editing by William Mallard and Christopher Cushing)

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