March 5, 2024

As China gradually emerges from the wave of Covid-19 that shut down Shanghai for two months, the outbreak in eastern Anhui province poses a new challenge to efforts to balance economic growth with the government’s “zero Covid” policy.

More than 200 cases were reported in Suzhou, Anhui, on Monday. Since the outbreak was discovered on June 26, the county has reported more than 1,000 cases, according to Suzhou Municipal Government.

China has only recently begun to recover from the outbreak in dozens of cities that began in March. In addition to the financial capital Shanghai, which in June emerged from a two-month citywide lockdown, the tech hub of Shenzhen, and Beijing, the capital of China, have also been affected by the outbreak. Leader of the Communist Party of Shanghai announced last month That the city defended itself against Covid, and said this proves that the zero-Covid strategy was correct.

With the impact of anti-Covid measures on the economy, the authorities recently issued policies aimed at helping businesses and increasing consumption. The Ministry of Information stopped mentioning in travel codes that someone has traveled from a city to report cases of coronavirus, and the National Health Commission has cut half the quarantine period for incoming international travelers to seven days.

But the Anhui government issued strict orders to crack down on cases in the province. Communist Party Secretary Promise to eliminate transmission Out of quarantine centers within a week, he told local government officials there could be no coronavirus-related deaths or cases among medical personnel.

Local governments quickly doubled down on restrictions.

Most of Anhui’s cases were identified in Si County in Suzhou, where they were diagnosed on Wednesday I ordered the authorities Its population of 760,000 is to refrain from going out unless necessary. The order came three days after the first cases were discovered, and nearly everyone in the county has been tested seven times in the past 10 days, according to authorities. The Suzhou municipal government said the county has taken in 22,000 people deemed to have been in close contact with people who have tested positive in government isolation centers, and residents in dozens of neighborhoods where cases have been found have been prevented from leaving their homes.

However, cases appear to be spreading outside of Anhui. Suzhou borders Jiangsu, Henan and Shandong provinces. According to health authorities in those counties, more than 300 cases reported in at least 12 cities in neighboring counties were linked to the outbreak in Suzhou.

Elsewhere in the country, the government of Xi’an, a city of 13 million people, said on Tuesday it would impose tighter restrictions after 18 cases reported Since Saturday. For a week, public facilities, entertainment businesses and schools will be closed, and dining in restaurants will be prohibited.

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