BEIJING: Millions of residents of China’s southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou will be required to have COVID-19 tests on Wednesday (Nov 9), authorities said, in an effort to control the city’s worst outbreak with infections topping 2,000 for two consecutive days.
As local cases across China reached their highest level since Apr 30, authorities announced on social media that five districts representing more than half of Guangzhou’s population of almost 19 million would need to undergo mass testing.
The latest round of mass testing in Guangzhou comes as China battles a rebound in infections in several economically vital cities, including the capital Beijing, which have dampened hopes that the world’s second-largest economy could ease curbs and restrictions soon.
Authorities are determined to get on top of the outbreaks and make good on President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy, without having to impose mass lockdowns of the sort that shut Shanghai earlier this year.
The districts in Guangzhou subject to mass testing this week include Haizhu, which has seen the bulk of the city’s cases. A district-wide lockdown from Saturday to Monday has been extended to Friday as cases rise.
Guangzhou reported 2,637 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for Nov 8, up from 2,377 a day earlier amid the city’s most serious outbreak to date and accounting for nearly a third of the 8,176 new local infections reported in China on the day.
Surging case numbers in the city, capital of Guangdong province, means Guangzhou has surpassed the northern Inner Mongolia city of Hohhot to become China’s COVID-19 epicentre.