Not again! Covid outbreak fears as China locks down city of 9million after spike in cases

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On Friday, 555 new coronavirus cases were recorded in China, according to the country’s National Health Commission. Of that number, 98 were recorded in Jilin province, which contains Changchun which has been thrown back into lockdown.

Residents of the northeastern city of Changchun are now required to remain at home, with one family member permitted to venture out to buy food and other necessities every two days.

Changchun residents must also undergo three rounds of mass testing, while non-essential businesses have been closed and transport links suspended.

In Jilin province, cases have exceeded 1,100 since the latest outbreak first struck late last Friday.

Just two cases were reported within Changchun itself on Friday, bringing its total to 78 in recent days.

Another 93 cases were confirmed in the nearby city of Jilin, where authorities have already ordered a partial lockdown there and severed travel links with other cities.

Authorities have repeatedly pledged to lock down any community where one or more cases are found under China’s “zero tolerance” approach to the pandemic.

Several offices of top Chinese business houses including Xiaomi and Bytedance in Beijing have also ordered Covid tests for their employees within their offices during the last few days.

On Friday, China said it will persist with its Covid Zero policy and try to prevent further spread of the virus.

According to a statement, which cited a meeting attended by the nation’s top health official Ma Xiaowei, China’s strict Covid controls should remain and officials need to avoid “war-weariness” in their work.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also said last Friday the world should be working more closely together to create the conditions for a return to normal life post-pandemic.

In a press conference marking the end of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, he said officials will work to make China’s response more scientific and targeted, and to maintain the normal functioning of everyday life and supply chains.

When asked how long China will hold on to Zero-COVID policy, Mr Li said: “We will continue to gain experience and be adaptive to new developments, so as to keep up the flow of goods and personnel.”

According to a statement, which cited a meeting attended by the nation’s top health official Ma Xiaowei, China’s strict Covid controls should remain and officials need to avoid “war-weariness” in their work.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also said last Friday the world should be working more closely together to create the conditions for a return to normal life post-pandemic.

In a press conference marking the end of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, he said officials will work to make China’s response more scientific and targeted, and to maintain the normal functioning of everyday life and supply chains.

When asked how long China will hold on to Zero-COVID policy, Mr Li said: “We will continue to gain experience and be adaptive to new developments, so as to keep up the flow of goods and personnel.”

Mr Li also expressed concern for Hong Kong amid a massive spike in Covid cases.

The number of daily infections in Hong Kong grew exponentially, breaking the 50,000 threshold this month.

As of Thursday, the city’s official tally stood at 617,419 cases, meaning one out of every 12 residents was infected, while there were 3,150 Covid related fatalities, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported on Friday.

It comes as the UK has seen a rise in Covid cases and hospitalisations, after all remaining restrictions were lifted.

In the seven days up to March 11, the UK has recorded 399,820 cases and 730 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, a jump of 56.3 percent and 2.8 percent week-on-week respectively.

Hospitalisations also rose by 1,369, or 16.9 percent, in the week to March 7, with 9,475 in hospital as of that day.

Professor Irene Petersen, an epidemiologist at UCL, told The Independent: “As close contacts are no longer encouraged to test it is likely that there are fewer people who realise that they are infectious and therefore not testing.”

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