the wuhan chinese metropolis has locked down a district of nearly a million people after detecting four asymptomatic COVID cases, as the original epicenter of the pandemic does not risk preventing another outbreak under China’s strict zero-COVID policy.
Authorities in Wuhan’s Jiangxia district, home to more than 970,000 people, announced on Wednesday that its main urban areas would apply three days of “temporary control measures.”
Entertainment venues including bars, movie theaters and internet cafes, small clinics and farmers markets were closed; restaurant dining and large gatherings, from presentations to conferences, were suspended; all places of worship were closed and religious activities prohibited; while tutoring institutions and tourist attractions stopped operations, according to a government statement.
All public transportation, from buses to subway services, was suspended, and residents were urged not to leave the district unless absolutely necessary.
Authorities also identified four high-risk neighborhoods where residents are prohibited from leaving their homes. Four other neighborhoods were designated as medium risk, meaning residents can’t leave their compounds.
The measures were aimed at “further reducing the flow of people, lowering the risk of cross-infection and achieving zero-COVID dynamics in the shortest possible time,” the statement said.
The sweeping restrictions came shortly after Jiangxia district authorities announced the discovery of four asymptomatic infections on Tuesday night. Two were spotted during regular test drives, while the other two were found among his close contacts.
Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China’s Hubei province, imposed the world’s first COVID lockdown in early 2020 to contain the devastating coronavirus, after initially downplaying the outbreak and silence health workers who tried to sound the alarms.
the strict lockdown they closed businesses and confined residents to their homes for more than two months. The crippling lockdown took a huge personal toll on residents, but it ultimately brought the virus under control.
Despite initial mishandling, the Chinese government has heralded Wuhan as a success story in its fight against the pandemic. In August 2020, as much of the world grappled with COVID-19, Wuhan made international headlines when he held an electronic music festival in an outdoor water park, with thousands partying with no masks or social distancing measures in sight.
Meanwhile, authorities in China have used stringent lockdown measures, mass testing and strict quarantine to contain sporadic outbreaks, in what is known as the zero-COVID strategy.
That approach had been mostly effective in curbing COVID outbreaks in China until this year, when the highly transmissible Omicron variant caused the country’s largest outbreak since Wuhan.
Shanghai’s financial hub was subjected to more than two months of harsh lockdown, sparking public outcry over widespread food shortages and delayed medical care for emergency patients. Cities and towns across the country have also been subject to varying degrees of restrictions as infections rise, with some border towns undergoing intermittent lockdowns for months.
The lockdowns have also done major damage to the Chinese economy, plunging it into the slowest quarterly growth since the start of the pandemic.
As much of the world has weathered the pandemic, Chinese officials, including the country’s leader Xi Jinping, have repeatedly vowed to stick to a zero-Covid policy, citing low vaccination rates among the elderly.