China Covid-19 cases remain high as officials warn about rising risks

China’s Covid-19 cases continued to hover around a two-month high, leaving residents of previously hard-hit areas fearful of more lockdowns and health authorities warning about the challenges ahead.

The country reported 826 cases for Wednesday, compared with 935 Tuesday, which was the highest daily tally since May 21. While most of the outbreak is hitting beyond major cities, some neighborhoods in Shenzhen implemented new lockdowns and infections in Shanghai continue to spread—spooking residents who endured previous isolation efforts.

China’s health officials said infections and deaths tied to the new BA.4. and BA.5. subvariants were likely to increase in the days to come given their fast transmission among the elderly, which already led to a rise in critical cases. They plan to focus on new mutations in the future, as most experts believe Omicron won’t be the last variant, said Dong Xiaoping, chief expert of virology at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The financial hub, which recorded 17 cases Wednesday, will require everyone to take Covid tests at least once a week until the end of August. Anyone who doesn’t test weekly will see their health code turn to yellow, restricting where they can go.

In Shenzhen, officials locked down the Baishizhou village that features densely packed buildings where many migrant workers live. The city reported 22 cases for Wednesday, up from 19 on Tuesday.

Several streets in the village were labeled high risk, meaning residents wouldn’t be allowed to leave their compounds or homes for seven days. Some areas had just gone through more than a week of restrictions, which lifted on July 16, due to sporadic cases.

The news of being locked down again led some residents to climb over fences to escape with luggage in tow, videos posted to social media showed.

The majority of cases are still centered in the hotspots of the Guangxi region in the south, which recorded 187 cases Wednesday—taking its total since the outbreak there flared just over a week ago to 1,293—and the remote northwestern province of Gansu, which reported 363 new infections, taking its current outbreak to 1,669.

Most of Gansu’s capital, Lanzhou, has been locked down for almost a week. City officials on Tuesday launched a “door knocking” campaign to rout out hidden cases, with 10,000 medical workers from around the province going home-to-home to carry out PCR testing in the city’s high and medium risk areas. Bloomberg News


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