Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Shenzhen locked down amid coronavirus outbreak

China’s government responded Sunday to a spike in coronavirus infections by shutting down its southern business centre of Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million people, and restricted access to Shanghai by suspending bus service.

Everyone in Shenzhen, a finance and technology center that abuts Hong Kong, will undergo three rounds of testing after 60 cases were reported Sunday, reports Medical Xpress. All businesses except those that supply food, fuel, and other necessities were ordered to close or have employees work from home.

Case numbers in China’s latest infection surge are low compared with other countries and with Hong Kong, which reported more than 32,000 on Sunday. But mainland authorities are enforcing a “zero tolerance” strategy and have locked down entire cities to find and isolate every infected person.

Shenzhen is home to some of China’s most prominent companies, including telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Ltd., electric car brand BYD Auto, Ping An Insurance Co., and Tencent Holding, operator of the popular WeChat message service.

Chinese health authorities reported 3,400 new cases on Sunday.

China, where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan, has reported 4,636 deaths from the disease on the mainland out of 115,466 confirmed cases since the pandemic started.

In Shanghai, China’s most populous city with 24 million people, the number of cases in the latest surge rose by 15 to 432.

The city government called on the public not to leave unless necessary. It said intercity bus service would be suspended starting on Sunday.

“Those who come or return to Shanghai must have a negative nucleic acid test report within 48 hours before arrival,” said a city health agency statement.

In Hong Kong, a health official warned the public not to assume the territory’s deadly coronavirus surge was under control as the government reported 190 new fatalities, most of them elderly people, and 32,430 new cases. That’s down from above 50,000 after stringent travel and business curbs were imposed.

Hong Kong, a crowded financial hub of 7.4 million people, is trying to contain an outbreak that has reportedly caused 3,993 deaths, most of them in the latest surge driven by the omicron variant.

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