China hits another peak in daily COVID cases

RNS: China reported over 33,000 new COVID infections Friday, up from 31,600 Thursday. Even though most cases were asymptomatic, authorities increased limitations.

Unlike the outbreak in April, which was mostly in Shanghai, this one has spread to many different areas and caused a lot of lockdowns, business restrictions, and opposition.

The southern city of Guangzhou and southwestern Chongqing have accounted for most of the daily surge, while cities including Chengdu, Jinan, Lanzhou, Xian and Wuhan logged hundreds of new infections daily. Capital Beijing reported 1,860 cases on Friday – another high for the city and traffic on the road and in the subway was reduced drastically. In the east, Nanjing in Jiangsu province said it would conduct mass testing five straight days from Saturday, the latest city to announce such plans.

In Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, residents in eight districts have been told not to leave the area, despite only a handful of cases reported there. The lockdown came after hundreds of employees protested over disputed wages at Foxconn’s factory.

As the country reported another record-high number of daily COVID-19 infections, residents and business groups in China became more and more frustrated. The French Chamber of Commerce in China urged authorities to properly implement COVID “optimisation” measures announced two weeks ago, in a statement shared extensively on social media after the French embassy posted it on its Twitter-like Weibo account on Thursday.

China’s strict zero-COVID policy has led to a stronger response to the rising number of cases, and the 20 measures were announced at the same time. This has caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty in big cities like Beijing, where many people are staying inside.

European Chamber of Commerce in China also urged Chinese authorities to open up and noted a need for greater emphasis on vaccinating the local population. Chamber President Joerg Wuttke said on Friday that Chinese appear to be soul-searching how to deal with this situation, adding that China has a zero-tolerance policy and finds it difficult to get itself out of this.

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