Virus lockdowns hit China economic powerhouse Guangzhou

Nov 9, 2022, 3:12 AM | Updated: Nov 10, 2022, 7:19 pm
Workers in protective clothing keep watch at a barricaded neighborhood locked down area for health ...

Workers in protective clothing keep watch at a barricaded neighborhood locked down area for health monitoring following a COVID-19 case detected in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Authorities are trying to restore a sense of normalcy while sticking to a "zero-COVID" strategy that locks down neighborhoods when any virus cases are found and quarantines everyone arriving from overseas in hotels for seven to 10 days. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — A surge in COVID-19 cases has spurred lockdowns in the southern Chinese manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, adding to financial pressure that has disrupted global supply chains and sharply slowed growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Residents in districts encompassing almost 5 million people have been ordered to stay home at least through Sunday, with one member of each family allowed out once per day to purchase necessities, local authorities said Wednesday.

The order came after the densely populated city of 13 million reported more than 2,500 new cases over the previous 24 hours. Public transport has been suspended and classes halted across much of Guangzhou, while flights to Beijing and other major cities have been canceled, according to state media.

China has retained its strict “zero-COVID” policy despite relatively low case numbers and no new deaths.

The country’s borders remain largely closed and internal travel and trade is fraught with ever-changing quarantine regulations.

The tight restrictions have sparked occasional clashes between residents and local Communist Party officials, who are threatened with punishment if reported cases in their areas of jurisdiction climb above levels deemed acceptable.

The party under the leadership of President Xi Jinping has dismissed calls from the United Nations’ World Health Organization to ease regulations, refused to import foreign vaccines and defied requests to release more information about the source of the virus, which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

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              A woman wearing a face mask takes part in a dance at a public park in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              Residents wearing face masks wait in line for their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              A worker in protective suit holds a fan with the health check QR code talks on her phone at a coronavirus testing site displaying the words "Fight the epidemic" in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              A man wearing a face mask talks to workers in protective clothing who keep watch at a barricaded neighborhood locked down for health monitoring following a COVID-19 case detected in the area in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Authorities are trying to restore a sense of normalcy while sticking to a "zero-COVID" strategy that locks down neighborhoods when any virus cases are found and quarantines everyone arriving from overseas in hotels for seven to 10 days. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              Workers in protective clothing keep watch at a barricaded neighborhood locked down area for health monitoring following a COVID-19 case detected in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Authorities are trying to restore a sense of normalcy while sticking to a "zero-COVID" strategy that locks down neighborhoods when any virus cases are found and quarantines everyone arriving from overseas in hotels for seven to 10 days. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            A man wearing a face mask leans on a display board as he rests near masked women who practice with fans at a public park in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) A worker in protective clothing helps a man on his health check QR codes before getting his routine COVID-19 throat swab at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) A woman wearing a face mask closes her liquor store along with a shuttered traditional medicine clinic which is located near a neighborhood locked down area for health monitoring following a COVID-19 case detected in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. "Zero COVID" has kept China's infection rates relatively low but at a high cost as businesses struggle with repeated shutdowns. The notes placed on the door that reads "Due to the epidemic, the store was ordered for temporally close". (AP Photo/Andy Wong) A man wearing face mask waits in line as a worker in protective suit collects a sample from a man at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) A worker in protective clothing transfers foods to a barricaded neighborhood locked down for health monitoring following a COVID-19 case detected in the area in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Authorities are trying to restore a sense of normalcy while sticking to a "zero-COVID" strategy that locks down neighborhoods when any virus cases are found and quarantines everyone arriving from overseas in hotels for seven to 10 days. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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Virus lockdowns hit China economic powerhouse Guangzhou