A record number of Coronavirus cases were reported in China on Saturday, as authorities remained steadfast in their zero-Covid policy.
China is the last major economy remaining committed to eliminating outbreaks despite economic costs incurred by snap lockdowns, long quarantines, and mass testing.
A day earlier, China reported 432 local infections. On Saturday, it reported 450. The majority of cases were asymptomatic.
In some parts of the country, fresh restrictions were imposed this week due to increased Coronavirus cases.
4.4 million residents of Lanzhou city, the capital of northwestern Gansu province, were ordered to stay home beginning Wednesday. At the same time, Anhui province’s county was locked into lockdown on Friday.
Beihai, home to over 800,000 people in the southern Guangxi region, also imposed lockdowns on Saturday.
There is currently a severe and complicated epidemic prevention and control situation in Beihai city, and the risk of hidden transmission is relatively high, according to a government notice.
In central Henan province, the steelmaking hub of Wugang announced a three-day lockdown over a single Covid incident earlier this week.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the virus presents a major challenge for Chinese authorities as they attempt to minimize the economic damage caused by Covid restrictions.
According to Bloomberg, in the second quarter, China’s economy expanded just 0.4% on the year and contracted 2.6% from the previous quarter, its slowest growth since the initial Covid outbreak.
China’s economy expanded by 2.55% during the year’s first half, falling short of the government’s 5.5% target.
Lockdown in Macau, China, extended
As authorities struggle to stop Covid’s spread in the world’s biggest gambling hub, Macau officials extended the lockdown of casinos and other businesses until Friday.
On Monday, the lockdown was scheduled to end.
Last Monday, Macau imposed a temporary shutdown, shutting down the city’s economic engine – its casinos – and prohibiting residents from leaving their apartments, except for essential activities like grocery shopping.
In Macau, there have been approximately 1,700 Coronavirus infections since mid-June. Due to the mainland’s Zero-Covid policy, more than 20,000 people are in mandatory quarantine.
Over 90% of Macau’s 600,000 residents are fully vaccinated, but this is the city’s first experience with Omicron.
Coronavirus already caused a strain on the medical system of the former Portuguese colony since there was only one public hospital.
Approximately 600 medical workers from mainland China are helping set up a makeshift hospital near the city’s Las Vegas-style Cotai strip.
Although daily Coronavirus cases exceed 3,000, authorities are starting to loosen draconian restrictions in neighbouring Hong Kong to revitalize the financial hub.