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Lockdowns, School Closures Return to Mainland China

Lockdowns, School Closures Return to Mainland China

In Shenzhen, China’s finance and innovation powerhouse, the government ordered all non-essential enterprises to close and public transportation to be suspended. Shenzhen is home to 17.5 million people and many of the country’s most important corporations, including Huawei Technologies and Apple supplier Foxconn.

As mainland China faces its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began in 2020, schools in Shanghai, China’s most populous city with 24 million people, have returned to virtual learning, neighborhoods have been put on lockdown, and residents have been told not to leave unless absolutely necessary.

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In comparison to other countries, the most recent case counts, which are driven by the omicron variety, are low. The government reported 1,938 new cases on Sunday, more than treble the amount reported on Saturday but much below the daily case count of approximately 35,000 in the United States, which has a population of less than a fourth of China’s.

The renewed lockdown measures reveal that China, where the virus was originally discovered in 2019, has stuck to its “zero tolerance” attitude to the coronavirus epidemic, with officials vowing to close down any community where one or more cases are discovered.

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Last week, China imposed a curfew on the 9 million people of Changchun, a metropolis in Jilin province’s northeastern region, and the 500,000 residents of Yucheng, in Shandong’s eastern province. Residents have been ordered to stay in their houses unless they need to go out to buy food or other needs, and will be tested three times in the next days and weeks.

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Meanwhile, in the United States, where the death toll is approaching one million, states and cities are continuing to roll back safety measures put in place to stop the virus from spreading after the CDC announced last week that 98 percent of Americans live in communities where the risk of infection is so low that they can stop wearing masks.

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