AP

China tightens restrictions as rise in virus cases reported

Nov 11, 2022, 10:19 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2022, 4:14 am

BEIJING (AP) — Everyone in a district of 1.8 million people in China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou was ordered to stay home for virus testing Saturday and a major city in the southwest closed schools as another rise in infections was reported.

Nationwide, a total of 11,773 infections were reported over the previous 24 hours, including 10,351 people with no symptoms. China’s numbers are low, but the past week’s increase is challenging a “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to isolate every infected person.

The quarantine for travelers arriving in China is to be shortened to a minimum of five days from seven as part of changes in controls announced Friday to reduce their cost and disruption. But the ruling Communist Party said it would stick to “zero COVID” even as other countries ease travel and other curbs and try to shift to a long-term strategy of living with the virus.

A total of 3,775 infections were found in Guangzhou, a city of 13 million, including 2,996 in people who showed no symptoms, according to the National Health Commission. That was an increase from Friday’s total of 3,030, including 2,461 without symptoms.

People in the Guangzhou’s Haizhu district were told to visit the nearest testing station but otherwise stay home, the district government announced on its social media account. One member of each household was allowed out to buy food.

Also Saturday, health officials warned the decision to modify anti-virus controls didn’t mean they were ending.

Under the changes, some foreign businesspeople and athletes visiting China would be allowed to move within a contained area without a quarantine period. Rules on who counts as a contact of infected people are to be more focused, reducing the number affected.

“This is not relaxation, nor ‘lying flat,’ but more accurate and scientific prevention and treatment,” said the NHC deputy director, Lei Haichao. Lei said the goal is to “prevent the epidemic and minimize the impact on economic and social development.”

Economists and public health experts say Beijing might be able to start winding down “zero COVID” in mid-2023 but needs to vaccinate tens of millions of elderly people before controls on foreign visitors coming into China end.

Nationwide, people who want to enter supermarkets and other public buildings are required to show negative results of a virus test taken as often as once a day. That allows authorities to spot infections in people with no symptoms.

Guangzhou, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Hong Kong, shut down schools and bus and subway service across much of the city as case numbers rose over the past week. Flights to the Chinese capital, Beijing, and other major cities have been canceled.

In the southwest, the industrial city of Chongqing closed schools in its Beibei district, which has 840,000 people. Residents were barred from leaving a series of apartment compounds in its Yubei district but the city gave no indication how many were affected.

Public frustration and complaints that some people are left without access to food or medicine have boiled over into protests and clashes with local officials in some areas.

Elsewhere, mass testing also was being carried out Saturday in eight districts with a total of 6.6 million people in the central city of Zhengzhou.

Access to an industrial zone of Zhengzhou that is home to the world’s biggest iPhone factory was suspended last week following outbreaks. Apple Inc. warned deliveries of its new iPhone 14 model would be delayed.

Despite efforts to ease damage to the world’s second-largest economy, forecasters say business and consumer activity is weakening after growth rebounded to 3.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September from the first half’s 2.2%.

Economists have cut their forecast of China’s annual economic growth to as low as 3%, which would be among the lowest in decades.

President Xi Jinping’s government has 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 city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

China tightens restrictions as rise in virus cases reported