China locks down parts of industrial centre Guiyang, Chengdu still shut after rise in Covid-19 cases

Chengdu extended a stay-at-home order for its 21 million residents, with mass testing to be continued. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING - China has locked down parts of Guiyang, capital of the south-western Guizhou province, sealing off some areas of the city as an increase in virus cases triggers a stringent response in line with the country's Covid Zero strategy.

Lockdowns will be imposed in almost all communities in six of Guiyang's 10 districts for four days through the end of Thursday, the local government said in a statement. Residents in the affected areas will only be allowed to leave their homes for Covid-19 tests, and all cab services will be suspended, authorities said.

The moves come after the city of 6.1 million reported 132 virus cases as of Monday morning, 28 more than a day earlier.

Guiyang is home to operations for automakers such as Geely Automobile and battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology, raising the prospect of disruption to manufacturing and the economy.

China's stringent Covid-19 policy is weighing on growth, with lockdowns, mandatory quarantines and effectively closed borders still in place almost three years into the pandemic.

The Guiyang lockdown comes as Chengdu, capital city of neighbouring Sichuan province, extended a stay-at-home order for its 21 million residents through Wednesday, with mass testing to be continued. The southern technology hub of Shenzhen also continues to be subject to movement controls.

More infectious virus variants are forcing China to lock down more frequently, as officials continue with a policy of wiping out Covid-19 cases.

The country has shut down more large and economically important cities in 2022 than at any time during the pandemic, with Shanghai's prolonged and contentious lockdown providing a cautionary tale for other cities on waiting too long to act forcefully.

All 31 mainland provinces have recorded at least one local Covid-19 case in the current outbreak, with local media Caixin saying that more than 30 cities have been fully or partially locked down.

Chengdu is the biggest city to be put under movement restrictions since Shanghai's two-month ordeal in the spring.

In central China's Wuhan city, some residents in the Panlongcheng residential community staged a protest over the weekend, demanding authorities lift their week-long lockdown, according to social media footage. BLOOMBERG

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