China on Friday reported nearly 33,000 new COVID infections, up from more than 31,600 reported on Thursday. Authorities have further tightened the restrictions even as the vast majority of the cases have been asymptomatic. In contrast to the April outbreak, which was mostly concentrated in Shanghai, outbreak this time is in many provinces and has prompted widespread lockdowns and other curbs on movement and business, as well as pushback.
The southern city of Guangzhou and southwestern Chongqing have accounted for most of the daily surge, while cities including Chengdu, Jinan, Lanzhou, Xian and Wuhan logged hundreds of new infections daily. Capital Beijing reported 1,860 cases on Friday – another high for the city and traffic on the road and in the subway reduced drastically. In the east, Nanjing in Jiangsu province said it would conduct mass testing for five straight days from Saturday, the latest city to announce such plans.
In Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, residents in eight districts have been told not to leave the area, despite only a handful of cases reported there. The lockdown followed the protests by hundreds of employees over disputed related to wages at Foxconn’s factory.
Frustration mounted among residents and business groups in China undergoing stricter COVID-19 control curbs as the country reported another record high of daily infections. The French Chamber of Commerce in China urged authorities to properly implement COVID “optimisation” measures announced two weeks ago, in a statement shared extensively on social media after the French embassy posted it on its Twitter-like Weibo account on Thursday.
The announcement of the 20 measures, just as rising cases prompted an increasingly heavy response under China’s strict zero-COVID approach, has caused widespread confusion and uncertainty in big cities, including Beijing, where many residents are locked down at home.
European Chamber of Commerce in China also urged Chinese authorities to open up and noted a need for greater emphasis on vaccinating the local population. Chamber President Joerg Wuttke said on Friday that Chinese appear to be soul-searching how to deal with this situation, adding that China has a zero-tolerance policy and finds it difficult to get itself out of this.