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Shanghai Eases Restrictions, Non-Essential Travel Banned In Guangzhou As China’s Covid Surge Intensifies

TOPLINE The Chinese port city of Guangzhou banned non-essential travel while Shanghai, the country’s financial hub, is easing lockdown but continues to report a large number of new Covid-19 cases as China battles an omicron surge on its eastern half despite growing opposition to its stringent zero-Covid approach.


  • According to the Associated Press, Guangzhou has halted most arrivals into the city while only granting leave to residents with a “definitive need”.
  • While a lockdown has not been implemented in Guangzhou, the schools in the city have switched to remote learning while the local administration prepared to undertake citywide mass testing.
  • On Monday, the city of 18 million reported 27 new cases—18 of which were symptomatic—making up for a relatively small portion of China’s 1,164 new symptomatic and 26,345 asymptomatic cases.
  • The country’s most severe outbreak continues to be centered around its financial hub of Shanghai with the city reporting 25,173 new asymptomatic and 914 symptomatic cases on Monday.
  • Officials plan to ease some restrictions in the city on Monday after its residents faced food shortages, prompting anger and protests.
  • So far not a single Covid-19 death has been reported from Shanghai’s current outbreak with the country as a whole reporting only two new deaths since the start of the year.


In accordance with its stated “zero-Covid” policy, China has enacted a stringent lockdown in Shanghai, which was supposed to end on Tuesday, but has since been extended indefinitely. The harsh nature of the lockdown has prompted anger and protests from the city’s residents amid reports of food shortages, children being separated from their parents, and deaths of unattended elderly patients at hospitals. These severe policies prompted the U.S. state department to issue an advisory asking its citizens to reconsider travel to China. The advisory warned of arbitrary enforcement of local laws and Covid restrictions which includes the risk of “parents and children being separated.” On Sunday, Beijing expressed its dissatisfaction towards the advisory, calling it a groundless accusation against China’s epidemic response.”


The unabated growth in Covid-19 cases in Shanghai has prompted questions about the usefulness of China’s pandemic approach. China has adopted what it calls a ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ strategy which has involved snap lockdowns and mass testing in cities where an outbreak was detected. While the approach appeared to be successful last year, the arrival of the fast-spreading omicron subvariant known as BA.2 appears to have rendered it ineffective. The country now faces the threat of an even larger surge in cases among a population that has very little immunity from prior infections and vaccines that appear to be less effective in preventing severe outcomes in comparison to their western counterparts.


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