In the corona wave in China, the number of new infections reached the highest level since the outbreak of the pandemic almost three years ago. As the Health Commission in Beijing announced, around 32,700 new cases were reported. The number of daily new infections has more than tripled in two weeks.
Extensive restrictions on movement apply in cities with over a million inhabitants such as Beijing, the hard-hit southern Chinese city of Guangzhou or in Chongqing. In the capital, restaurants, shops and schools were closed - only supermarkets and markets were still open for grocery shopping. Employees must work in the home office. The 21 million Beijingers were asked not to leave their homes if possible.
More than a fifth of economic output affected by the lockdown
While the rest of the world has long been living with the virus, China remains steadfast in its strict zero-Covid strategy. Residential areas are cordoned off in individual cases. Contact persons come to quarantine camps. Infected people are isolated in the hospital. The country has also sealed itself off for a long time. Visas are rarely issued. Those entering the country must be in quarantine in special hotel rooms for at least five days - but usually eight days.
Every day there are mass tests that put an extremely heavy strain on local government finances. In order to get into supermarkets, for example in Beijing, a negative PCR test usually from the last 24 hours must be proven. Other places require tests from the past 48 hours. Long queues form at test stations every day.
The new omicron variants are blamed for the rapid increase in infections, which spread more easily and thus undermine preventive measures in China.