"Zero Covid" policy forces lockdowns that strangle economy, leave citizens hungry and out of work

Residents of the Chinese city of Xi’an are enduring a strict coronavirus lockdown, with business owners suffering yet more closures and some people complaining of difficulties finding food, despite assurances from authorities that they are able to provide necessities for the 13 million people largely confined to their homes, reports the AP.

Stringent measures to stem outbreaks are common in China, which still maintains a policy of stamping out every COVID-19 case long after many other countries have opted to try to live with the virus. But the lockdown imposed Dec. 23 in Xi’an is one of the harshest in the country since a shutdown in 2020 in and around Wuhan, after the coronavirus was first detected there.

On Tuesday, authorities announced that another city, Yuzhou in Henan province, was placed under lockdown over the weekend after the discovery of just three asymptomatic cases.

The Chinese have largely complied with the tough measures throughout the pandemic, but complaints have cropped up over tough policies, despite the risk of retaliation from Communist authorities. The Xi’an lockdown, however, comes at a particularly sensitive time, as China prepares to hold the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open Feb. 4, and therefore is under especially intense pressure to contain this outbreak.

“Can’t leave the building, and it’s getting more and more difficult to buy food online,” said one resident of Xi’an, who posted on the social media platform Weibo under the name Mu Qingyuani Sayno. The post was from a verified account, but the person did not respond to a request for further comment.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse