Chengdu lockdown likely to be extended as China's Covid-19 cases jump

As of Sept 6, mainland China had confirmed 245,747 cases with symptoms. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SHANGHAI - A lockdown in China’s southwestern megacity of Chengdu is likely to be extended after Covid-19 cases jumped. 

Chengdu – the largest city to lock down since Shanghai – reported 121 cases for Tuesday, up from 90 on Monday. The city’s latest round of mass testing is due to be completed at midnight Wednesday, and residents are waiting to see if the lockdown for most of the city will be extended.

There were signs that restrictions were tightening, with Wuhou district, the most populated area in Chengdu with 1.93 million residents, stepping up control of businesses and movement of people as part of a dynamic Covid Zero campaign.

Shops that sell snacks including baked goods, noodles and barbecue kebabs not on a government white list will be closed. Restaurants need to be approved before they can offer food deliveries. Essential workers will be checked thoroughly to make sure they have the right passes to move around, according to a statement by the district on Wednesday.

President Xi Jinping has staked his power on protecting people from the level of Covid-19 fatalities seen in the US, which has recorded 1 million virus deaths compared with the 5,200 officially reported by China.

“We should put the people and human life above all else,” the Chinese leader told a meeting of the decision-making Politburo in July.

The costs of sticking to that strategy in the face of more contagious variants are becoming increasingly clear, as growth forecasts are slashed and factory and retail activity slumps.   

Nationwide, China reported 1,695 new coronavirus cases for Sept 6, of which 380 were symptomatic and 1,315 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.

That compared to 1,610 new cases a day earlier - 310 symptomatic and 1,300 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

As of Sept 6, mainland China had confirmed 245,747 cases with symptoms.

China's capital Beijing reported 14 cases – the most since June 16 – with 13 of them from a university campus in the Changping district. 

Financial hub Shanghai reported one asymptomatic case found outside quarantined areas, after two days of zero infections, local government data showed.

China's southern technology hub of Shenzhen, which eased anti-virus restriction measures from Monday after a weekend lockdown for most residents, reported 40 new locally transmitted Covid-19 infections, up from 36 a day earlier. BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

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