Within the luxurious residential complex of Chao Kuo in Guomao, Beijing’s economic district, the morning on this hazy and cold Sunday was like no other. Residents are urgently called to take an unscheduled PCR test.
Queues were long in front of hastily put up tents in this sprawling complex chosen as home by a large foreign community.
The scenes bring back bad memories for George, an American who has lived at the resort for four years. After the outbreak of the epidemic in the city of Wuhan two years ago, people’s suffering gripped the people.
In Beijing, the situation looks calmer than in other regions where infection cases have increased manifold since the beginning of the current month.
The surge in infections in the country appears to be the most severe outbreak of Covid-19 since the first case was detected. An outbreak that prompted authorities to lock down several cities, including parts of the country’s tech hub Shenzhen and the financial capital Shanghai.
The new restrictions, in addition to the scale of the new surge, paint an atmosphere of fear among provincial and municipal officials in a country that takes great pride in the effectiveness of its “zero tolerance” approach. Which allowed him to slow the virus down to the height of its progress in early 2020.
Dozens of companies, including the Shenzhen-based international giant, have halted production following restrictions imposed by the authorities.
In Shanghai, the huge global financial hub famous for its rigid policy that has made it possible to contain the pandemic while guaranteeing the liquidity of economic activity, officials have recorded nearly 1,000 infections since the beginning of the month. Around 170 cases were reported in the city on Sunday.
Following rising infections, the city suspended most of its public transport service and advised residents to avoid non-essential travel. People leaving or entering Shanghai must undergo a negative PCR test.
According to the city’s information office, the origin of this new wave is the quarantine center for people coming from abroad.
In addition, the authorities have launched a massive screening campaign, a situation that has increased the pressure on hospitals in the city of 24 million.
Nationally, China on Monday recorded 3,505 new Covid-19 infections, a figure that brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 120,407.
The reported cases so far are certainly lower than other countries in the world, especially in the East Asia region where infections are breaking records. But the authorities showed no signs of slowing down to control the situation and prevent it from getting worse.
The new infections have prompted China to question the effectiveness of its so-called “zero tolerance” approach. The involvement of local governments and municipalities in the fight against the pandemic has also been questioned.
In Jilin, the country’s northeast where 3,076 cases of infection were identified on Monday, officials expedited the construction of new hospitals and quarantine facilities. So many scenes that rekindle concerns about the return of the deadly virus to this vast country of over 1.4 billion residents.
Analysts say the restrictions imposed on industrial sectors in a country that occupies a central position in the international supply chain, especially citing high technology sectors and information technology, will certainly have an impact on global economic activity.
The new jump in contamination represents a serious test of the so-called “zero tolerance” policy that China has been able to contain since the spring of 2020.
Thanks to this policy, which includes very strict containment measures affecting entire cities, the country has managed to contain the contagion, with an official toll of over 100,000 cases, including 4,636 fatalities in a span of two years.
Observers say the worsening pandemic situation in China could make it harder for the government to achieve the 5.5pc economic growth rate set out in an executive report submitted to the country’s top legislature, which was recently held in Beijing.
Aware of the situation, senior Chinese officials have visited several times in recent days to send messages of appeasement, emphasizing that everything is done to strengthen the stability of the economic framework to achieve sustained growth. Will go
“The economy is facing new pressures and more difficulties and challenges,” Premier Li Keqiang said, calling for the epidemic situation to be closely monitored to provide an appropriate response and ensure stable growth. , employment and prices.
At a time when the world was facing an extremely difficult situation due to the pandemic, China achieved a growth rate of 8.1 percent in 2021. An achievement that the government attributed mainly to the effectiveness of its anti-Covid-19 strategy.
The new wave that is torpedoing many areas of the country has put Beijing in front of a new serious test of its resilience and ability to navigate particularly adversity.
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