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Lockdown in China as COVID-19 Cases Rise After Holidays

China's financial capital Shanghai, a city with a population of over 25 million people reported 28 new local cases on October 10.

Binita Kumari
Travel decreased over the annual National Day holiday, which started on October 1, as officials urged citizens to stay in their towns and provinces.
Travel decreased over the annual National Day holiday, which started on October 1, as officials urged citizens to stay in their towns and provinces.

Ahead of a major Communist Party meeting in Beijing the next week, Chinese localities were enforcing new lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of daily COVID-19 instances increased during a weeklong break. 

After a preliminary positive case was discovered in citywide testing the day before, the most recent lockdown began on Monday in Fenyang city in northern China's Shanxi province, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The capital of the neighboring Inner Mongolia region, Hohhot, announced that outside vehicles and passengers would no longer be allowed to enter the city as of Tuesday.

Hohhot has reported more than 2,000 instances in the last two weeks. One of the few nations in the world still using severe measures to prevent the spread of the disease is China. In the lead-up to its once every five years party congress, which begins on Sunday, the long-reigning Communist Party is especially worried as it works to project a positive picture of the country.

Travel decreased over the annual National Day holiday, which started on October 1, as officials urged citizens to stay in their towns and provinces. 

However, from 600 at the beginning of the break, there are now around 1,800 new instances reported per day. The tight "zero-COVID" strategy has had a negative economic impact, especially on small enterprises and temporary workers, but leaders don't want a huge epidemic to cast a shadow over congress.

After the summit, many people in China anticipate the pandemic policy to loosen. There have been outbreaks reported all over the country, with the biggest clusters being in Inner Mongolia and the remote Xinjiang area. Each has been keeping track of several hundred new cases every day.

There have been a few but increasing examples in Beijing and Shanghai, where locals earlier this year were subjected to protracted lockdowns. Last Monday, the shutdown of theatres and other entertainment establishments was announced in two Shanghai districts.

For many Chinese, waiting in line for free virus tests regularly has become the norm. In Beijing and other Chinese cities, entry to parks, offices, stores, and other public venues requires a negative test result within 72 hours.

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