China’s Guangzhou locks down, Beijing shuts schools over COVID

China is battling COVID outbreaks from Zhengzhou in the central Henan province to Chongqing in the southwest.

Guangzhou, China, has shuttered its largest district, while Beijing schools have moved to online classes as authorities battle numerous COVID-19 outbreaks across the country.

Guangzhou, a southern metropolis home to nearly 19 million people, on Monday announced a five-day lockdown for the most populous Baiyun district, suspending dining services and closing nightclubs and theaters in the main shopping district.

In Beijing, where authorities reported 962 new infections, students at schools in several districts began studying online after authorities told residents in some of the hardest-hit areas to stay home.

Health authorities in the capital also reported two COVID-19-related deaths after announcing the first death in more than six months the day before. Medical experts outside of China are highly skeptical of the country’s official COVID death toll of less than 5,300 given international experience with the virus, though Beijing’s tough restrictions have kept cases and deaths much lower than in China. other places.

COVID cases are rising across China, with outbreaks in regions ranging from Zhengzhou in the central Henan province to Chongqing in the southwest.

Chinese health authorities reported 26,824 local cases for Sunday, near the country’s peak in April.

While the rest of the world lives with COVID-19, China has stuck to a strict “zero COVID” strategy that relies on lockdowns, mass testing and border controls to eradicate the virus wherever it appears.

Despite relaxing some COVID restrictions, including reducing the quarantine for international arrivals from seven to five days, and calling for more specific measures, Beijing has repeatedly ruled out a fundamental shift away from “COVID zero” even as frustrations mount. public with politics.

Asian stock markets and oil prices fell on Monday as investors braced for further economic disruption due to rising cases.

On Monday, the People’s Daily newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, published the latest in a series of articles emphasizing the need to detect cases early and avoid a “one size fits all” response.