Chinese authorities locked down the eastern city of Yiwu, an important manufacturing and export hub, on Thursday, as several outbreaks of the coronavirus triggered tighter restrictions in locations across the country.
China is one of the last countries in the world pursuing a strict zero-Covid policy and has continued to impose sporadic curbs on cities and regions to eliminate flare-ups since a two-month shutdown of its most important commercial hub of Shanghai ended in June.
Regular testing and shifting localised restrictions are also increasingly becoming a regular part of everyday life in areas outside of lockdowns.
Yiwu authorities on Thursday morning divided most of the city into medium-risk and high-risk areas, with residents of the former confined to their residential complexes and those in the latter not allowed to leave their homes for three days.
They also prohibited travelling to and from Yiwu unless absolutely necessary, suspended non-essential businesses that cannot operate a “closed loop” work system and ordered schools to teach online classes only.
Yiwu, which has a population of about 1.9mn people, is an important hub for the manufacture of consumer goods that are exported globally.
China reported 1,993 new local cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, with 75 of them in Zhejiang province, where Yiwu is located. That compared to 1,030 new local cases on Wednesday.
The country is also battling outbreaks in Tibet, which discovered its first cases in more than 900 days last week, Hainan, where tens of thousands of holidaymakers were trapped by lockdowns, and in the western region of Xinjiang.
Additional reporting by Maiqi Ding in Beijing
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