Millions stoned in China after recording the largest number of Covid cases in two years

AFP – Millions of people were quarantined in various parts of China on Sunday, after 3,393 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded, in a record daily toll since the outbreak of the pandemic began in February 2020, while authorities rushed to the epicenter of the outbreak amid population frustration with the Closing measures.

In light of the high number of injuries across the country, authorities closed neighborhoods in Shanghai, China’s most populous city, including schools, companies, restaurants and commercial centers, and on Sunday announced it was impossible to leave the city. or to leave. enter it without an examination to detect the infection, and the result is negative up to 48 hours.

On Sunday, 17 million people were quarantined in Shenzhen, the technology center in southern China, after 66 new infections with the Corona virus were recorded.

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A stone was also laid in many northeastern cities, at a time when about 19 provinces were restricting local outbreaks of the “Omicron” and “Delta” mutants.

A partial closure has been instituted in the large city of Jilin in northeastern China, affecting hundreds of neighborhoods in it, an official announced Sunday. In Yangi, with a population of 700,000, on the border with North Korea, a complete closure has been instituted.

China, where the virus was first detected in the world at the end of 2019, has adopted a “zero COVID” policy. It deals with new outposts through local closure measures, mass testing of the population, and the application of the detection of infected and contacts.

Residents queue to receive nucleic acid tests for Covid-19 coronavirus in Jilin, northeast of China’s Jilin Province, March 12, 2022. (AFP)

The country’s borders are still almost closed.

However, this record number of daily infections caused by the Omicron mutant has destabilized this approach.

“In some areas, the intervention mechanism is not robust enough, and the understanding of the characteristics of the omicron mutant is also not sufficient (…) and the judgment was not correct,” said Zhang Yan, a health official in Jilin. said during a press conference.

He added: “It also reflects the rapid spread of the virus in different regions and the lack of medical resources,” which has led to delays in hospitalization processes and in the treatment of patients.

He explained that the outbreak of infections shows that “the spread of the Omicron is hidden, highly contagious, rapid and difficult to detect in the early stages.”

Local officials said residents of Jilin underwent six rounds of mass testing. This city on Sunday recorded 500 cases of the mutant Omicron.

On Saturday, hundreds of neighborhoods of the city were closed.

Also on Friday, the neighboring city of Changchun, an industrial center of nine million people, was closed.

State media reported that the mayor of Jilin and the head of the Changchun Health Commission were fired on Saturday.

China has so far managed to keep infections at a very low level thanks to local closures, mass testing and border closures.

“Nul Covid?”

But boredom with this tough approach is spreading more and more in China. Several officials are calling for less stringent and more targeted measures to contain the virus, while economists warn that the strict measures are hurting the country’s economy.

Zhang, a Shenzhen resident, told AFP that the closure “is the worst since 2020,” explaining that “the closure measures are very surprising, my friend woke up in the morning and discovered that a seal was up during the night. her building was placed without warning, and her employer had to mail her her computer. ” .

Hong Kong is currently recording one of the highest mortality rates in the world, as Omicron is highly common among the elderly who are still reluctant to receive the vaccine.

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment will treat patients on 11 March 2022 in a detention area next to the casualty and emergency department of Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, as the city faces the worst outbreak of coronavirus ever. (DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

Thousands of foreigners also left the city, mostly due to school closures and severe restrictions that prevent any gathering or movement.

However, the health policies pursued in China have become more flexible and purposeful since the increase in infections began in February, compared to the measures taken in December, when a complete stone was thrown at the city of Xi’an and its 13 million people. residents were laid off for a period of two weeks.

In Shanghai, the country’s largest city, the authorities have chosen to rely on social distancing, with temporary closure of schools, companies, restaurants and shopping malls, rather than mass quarantine operations.

Ropes were observed in front of the city’s hospitals, while residents rushed to undergo a diagnostic examination.

With the increase in the number of infections, the National Health Administration announced on Friday that it will allow the use of rapid tests, which could be an additional relaxation of health policy.

A senior Chinese scientist said last week that the country should try to coexist with the virus as other countries do.

However, the government did not rule out the possibility of resorting to strict closure measures again.

According to official reports, a curfew was imposed in Siping and Dunhua cities, both in Jilin province, on Thursday and Friday.

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