Chinese megacity Chengdu locks down 21 million residents to battle Covid

Beijing, Sep 1 (EFE).- Chinese megacity Chengdu will lock down its 21 million residents on Thursday to tackle an “extremely complex and severe” Covid-19 control operation.

The local government declared on its WeChat account that “all residents will stay at home in principle” from 6 pm local time (10:00 GMT) and that each household will be able to designate one person to go out to buy daily necessities, as long as the person has a negative PCR test carried out in the previous 24 hours.

All businesses and shops, except for essential services, will be closed and employees are asked to work from home.

Citizens who “undertake the basic urban operation” tasks or “medical security” or “epidemic prevention” will be able to enter and leave neighborhoods with a special electronic pass and a negative test.

Likewise, the authorities prohibit people from leaving Chengdu, unless strictly necessary, which will only be approved if the person has a negative PCR test in the previous 24 hours.

Chengdu will carry out PCR tests on all its residents between Thursday and Sunday.

Public taxi and bicycle services will be suspended, while bus and subway operations will operate at adjusted frequencies.

The capital of Sichuan province, one of the most populous in the country, is one of the main economic hubs in central and western China.

It has also been in the news this summer due to an unprecedented heatwave and a drought that led to the limitation of energy use in some industries.

Chengdu had already imposed selective confinement in recent days in neighborhoods affected by outbreaks that totaled 106 new symptomatic cases and 51 asymptomatic on Wednesday, according to official data.

Recently, the country has registered outbreaks in various regions, from the southern tropical island of Hainan, through Sichuan to the remote western region of Tibet, which had not registered cases for two years.

For more than two years now, China has been clinging to its “zero covid” policy.

Since the spring outbreaks, residents of large Chinese cities have had to undergo several weekly PCR tests to be able to enter public places and communities are sent into lockdown when a case is detected.

Beyond the mass PCR testing and lockdowns, the country’s borders remain mostly closed.

Since March 2020, China has been shut to tourism and only citizens and some foreigners with residence permits or non-tourist visas can enter. Inbound travelers must enter and pay for a quarantine period in a hotel designated by the authorities.

Since the start of the pandemic, China has registered 243,449 cases and 5,226 deaths, although the total number excludes asymptomatic cases, according to official accounts. EFE


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