China has locked down 65 million of its citizens under tough COVID-19 restrictions and is discouraging travel during upcoming national holidays.
Across the country 33 cities including seven provincial capitals are under full or partial lockdown covering more than 65 million people.
10-12 September is China’s mid-autumn festival, the country’s second-most important holiday after the Lunar New Year. The anti-virus measures have taken a major toll on the economy, travel and society, but China’s ruling Communist Party says they are necessary to prevent a wider spread of the virus.
It said that outbreaks have been reported in 103 cities, the highest since the early days of the pandemic in early 2020. Despite a relatively low number of infections, authorities have adhered to a “zero-COVID” policy requiring lockdowns, quarantines and the confining of people suspected of being in close contact with any confirmed case.
China recorded 1,552 new cases in the latest 24-hour period across a nation of 1.4 billion people. Most of the 21 million people in the southwestern city of Chengdu are confined to their apartments or residential complexes, while in the eastern port city of Tianjin, classes have been moved online after 14 new cases were reported, all but two showing no symptoms.