Despite gradual easing, strict corona measures continue to apply in many parts of China. A neighborhood in Beijing also felt the effects. Because a 42-year-old didn’t follow the rules, the authorities cordoned off his neighborhood.
In the Chinese capital Beijing, 5,000 people have to be in corona isolation because one of their neighbors has apparently violated his home quarantine several times and later tested positive. As the Beijing Ribao newspaper reported on Monday, the 42-year-old had been instructed to isolate himself at home because he had been identified as the contact person of an infected person in a shopping center. However, the 42-year-old left his apartment several times and walked around the neighborhood.
Five days after the instruction, the man and his wife tested positive. As a consequence, the authorities brought 258 residents of his house to a central quarantine facility. More than 5,000 residents of the area would now have to isolate themselves at home, the paper continued. The police have launched criminal investigations against the 42-year-old.
Relaxation with exceptions: 900,000 people in the high-risk area
China continues to pursue a rigorous zero-Covid strategy. The most populous country is fighting the worst corona wave since the pandemic began more than two years ago. Hundreds of millions of people in the country are regularly tested.
As the British “Guardian” reports, Beijing authorities had tried to avoid a mass urban lockdown by instead imposing travel restrictions, maintaining a home office obligation, closing venues and sealing off individual blocks of flats.
The report about the neighborhood quarantine, the “Guardian” continues, comes at a time when many Chinese cities are beginning to relax. In Shanghai, the months-long lockdown is due to end on Wednesday, and numerous relaxations came into effect in Beijing itself on Monday. As the US broadcaster “Voice of America” (VOA) reports, the authorities in Beijing had asked millions of people to return to their jobs. However, those who live in high-risk areas are exempt from the easing – according to the VOA, this would affect around 900,000 people in Shanghai alone.
Chinese economy at a ‘critical juncture’
The government’s zero-Covid strategy is increasingly posing a threat to the economy. Premier Li Keqiang told thousands of officials at an emergency meeting last week, Fortune magazine reports, that the economy is at a “crisp point.” . The authorities would have to act quickly and reconcile the massive control of the megacities with economic growth. The targeted economic growth of 5.5 percent is increasingly out of reach, Li continued. This contrasts Li’s warnings with the much milder tone of the state media. The company closures associated with the strict measures would have global effects: According to “Fortune”, more than 180 foreign companies were affected in the first quarter of 2022.
In contrast to most economies, the pandemic did not initially slow down the economic upswing in China. The gross domestic product, reports “Fortune”, even increased by more than eight percent in 2021. Only the easily transmissible corona variants would have hit the country hard. Almost 77,000 new cases were registered in China on Monday, up from 291 on January 1, according to the WHO.
Sources: DPA, The Guardian, Voice of America, Fortune.