China reported a record number of daily Covid infections on Thursday, as the country’s zero-tolerance approach to the virus becomes increasingly popular.
The National Health Commission (NHC) recorded 31,444 local infections on Wednesday, surpassing the peak of 29,317 recorded on April 13 during Shanghai’s months-long lockdown.
Epidemics in many cities are escalating, and despite the unprecedented response and unprecedented response of authorities to ongoing lockdowns, quarantines, and mass-testing mandates, authorities have refused to end strict infection control.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid-related deaths has added more pressure to the mix. On Wednesday, Beijing recorded its fourth Covid-related death since last weekend, along with 1,648 local infections – its third consecutive day of more than 1,000 local cases.
On Thursday, city officials said they had turned a large exhibition center into a temporary hospital to quarantine and treat Covid patients.
It was the latest sign that the Center is stepping up its Covid controls. Earlier this week, schools in several districts held classes online, while Chaoyang – the epicenter of the city’s outbreak and home to many international businesses and embassies – urged residents to stay indoors and close restaurants, gyms and beauty salons.
Video shows rare protests in Beijing as China’s leader looks to extend his rule
China, the world’s last major economy still under strict zero-Covid measures, announced a limited easing of policy earlier this month, which some observers saw as a sign that the government was admitting its shortcomings.
This prevented excessive mass testing and overzealous classification of limited “high-risk” areas, waivers of quarantine requirements for secondary close contacts, and reduced quarantines for close contacts and international arrivals.
After the announcement, several Chinese cities canceled mass Covid tests, but there are dizzying restrictions for residents to navigate, especially when outbreaks occur.
The signs that people have had enough are increasingly dramatic and rare protests in a country where the government has traditionally clamped down on any sign of protest.
Protests broke out this week at the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant in Zhengzhou. In social media videos, authorities tried to close down the facility after employees clashed with riot police. It comes a week after some residents of the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou broke barriers and marched through the streets to protest against a long-running blockade.
Recurring issues such as the inability to obtain immediate medical care or access to food and supplies, or the loss of jobs and incomes, can infuriate disaster victims.
Crowds break down street barricades protesting Covid restrictions