China faces a record surge in COVID cases just after it relaxed restrictions about a week ago due to the damaging impact on its citizens’ daily lives and economic activities.
According to Bloomberg, around 27,000 new cases were recorded on Monday, about the same as Shanghai’s record high of nearly 29,000 cases in April. Guangzhou’s manufacturing hub is the new wave’s spotlight, with about 8,500 infections.
Three deaths have been reported in Beijing for the first time in over six months. Surging infections have forced local authorities to reintroduce control measures to curb the latest outbreaks.
Shijiazhuang, a city 185 miles from Beijing, was previously rumored to be a test model for China to drop all virus controls. However, due to surging infections, the 11-million-population city has locked down schools and universities and asked its residents to stay home for five days.
Earlier, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unveiled 20 measures for the COVID response, instructing local authorities to avoid sweeping curbs like before. Instead, they are advised to take a more targeted approach to contain the virus, boost vaccination, and preserve hospitals for severe patients.
Bloomberg cites data from Nomura analysts, reporting that 48 Chinese cities might be subject to district-level or widespread movement curbs.
Chief China economist Lu Ting at Nomura said this affects nearly 20% of the country’s total economic output, up from 15.6% about a week ago.
Lu Mengji, a virologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, said the surge in new cases was inevitable after health officials relaxed measures.
He said, “The worsening outbreak will trigger further controls on a wider scale.”
Lu warned, “Six or seven weeks from now, we’ll see how much damage the outbreak will cause to the extremely frail population.”