BEIJING, China: China’s government has responded to a surge in COVID-19 infections by closing its southern business center of Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million people.
It also restricted access to Shanghai by suspending bus services.
The entire population of Shenzhen, a finance and technology center located next to Hong Kong, will undergo three rounds of testing after 60 new cases were reported Sunday. All businesses, except those that supply food, fuel and other necessities, must close or their staffs must work from home.
Chinese authorities are enforcing a zero tolerance strategy and have locked down entire cities to find and isolate every infected person.
Shenzhen is home to some of China’s leading companies, such as telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei, electric car brand BYD Auto, Ping An Insurance Co. and Tencent Holding, operator of the popular WeChat message service.
Meanwhile, on the mainland the government reported 1,938 new cases, more than triple Saturday’s total.
About three-quarters, or 1,412 cases, were in Jilin province in the northeast, where the industrial metropolis of Changchun was placed under lockdown on March 11.
The country where the first coronavirus cases were detected in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan, China has reported a total of 4,636 deaths on the mainland out of 115,466 confirmed cases since the pandemic started.
The Shanghai city government called on the public to not leave home unless necessary, adding that intercity bus services would be suspended.
“Those who come or return to Shanghai must have a negative nucleic acid test report within 48 hours before arrival,” said a city health agency statement.
In Hong Kong, a health official warned the public to not assume a recent coronavirus surge was under control, with 190 new fatalities being reported, who were mostly elderly people, along with 32,430 new cases.
Hong Kong, the famed financial hub with 7.4 million people, is trying to contain an outbreak that has killed 3,993 people, most of them in the latest Omicron surge, and swamped hospitals.
Dr. Albert Au, with the government’s Center for Health Protection, said, “People should not get the wrong impression that the virus situation is now under control.”
According to Zhang Yan, deputy director of Jilin’s provincial Health Commission, local authorities are stepping up anti-disease measures after concluding that their earlier response was inadequate.
During a news conference, Zhang said, “The emergency response mechanism in some areas is not sound enough.”
According to a government notice, some residents of Cangzhou, south of Beijing, were told to stay home after nine cases were reported.
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