China registers this July 16 the highest number of coronavirus cases since May and imposed confinement for millions of people across the country this weekend , under the strict “zero covid” policy.
A total of 450 cases of covid-19, most of them asymptomatic, were reported this Saturday throughout the country, compared to 432 on Friday, according to the authorities. The increase in cases led this week to the adoption of new restrictions in various regions of the country.
Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province (northwest), ordered its 4.4 million inhabitants to stay at home on Wednesday. One of the towns in Anhui province (east) has been confined since Friday. Earlier in the week, authorities imposed a general lockdown in Wugang, a major steel hub in central Henan province, after the discovery of a single case of covid-19.
In Beihai, in the province of Guangxi (south), the authorities announced this Saturday partial confinements in two towns with more than 800,000 inhabitants.
“Currently, the situation regarding epidemic prevention and control in Beihai city is serious and complicated, and the risk of contagion in the community is relatively high,” said a government note announcing the restrictions. China is the last major country in the world to pursue the goal of eliminating the epidemic through lockdowns, long quarantines and mass testing, despite the fact that the “zero covid” strategy has a strong impact on the economy.
The country’s economic growth in the second quarter had its worst performance since 2020, mainly due to health restrictions. The world’s second-largest economy grew 0.4% year-on-year between April and June, after registering 4.8% in the first quarter, according to official figures.