Embattled residents of Chengdu hit with longer COVID lockdowns

Domestic News

Authorities in the capital of Sichuan Province have extended COVID lockdowns, in another setback for weary residents who have just been through heat waves, power curbs, and an earthquake.

Hazmat-suited workers prepare food supplies outside a residential compound in Chengdu, Sichuan province on September 2, 2022. CNS photo via Reuters Connect.

Chengdu has extended its COVID-19 lockdown placed on most of its districts indefinitely, as authorities in the capital of Sichuan Province try to contain further transmissions in a city of over 21 million.

The metropolis was locked down on September 1 after health authorities reported 157 infections, with the initial stay-at-home order extending for four days. But with daily testing continuing to show new infections in the 100 to 200 range, which Beijing considers unacceptable, some Chengdu residents fear that they may be confined to their apartments for weeks on end, as Shanghai residents were in the spring this year.

  • The people under lockdown are required to be tested every day. Those who test positive will be sent to state-run quarantine facilities.
  • People in high-risk areas will be forbidden to leave their homes, while in other areas, there are differing restrictions on residents’ movements.

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Chengdu residents have just been through prolonged heat waves, power cuts, and a devastating earthquake, and the lockdown is taking its toll.

  • Many people were panic-buying food supplies upon hearing the imminent restrictions, though some were later relieved to find shelves well stocked and commended the city’s management of supplies.
  • Anger, however, is growing after authorities would not budge on lockdown measures after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake, which has left at least 80 people dead, hit western China over the weekend. Police and healthcare workers reportedly refused to let some people flee out of shaking buildings, sparking outrage online.

Elsewhere in China, COVID curbs of various degrees have once again restricted people’s movements: The National Health Commission announced today that those traveling between provinces must undergo PCR testing (nose swabs) before and after they arrive at their destination, while urging people to stay home over the upcoming holiday weekend.

  • Authorities in the Chinese city of Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province, apologized after a sudden lockdown choked up food delivery services, causing hundreds of thousands of residents to go hungry for a few days.
  • Smaller cities like Urumqi and Yining in the region of Xinjiang have been under partial or total lockdown for over a month.
  • China’s tourism industry has taken another hit, after tourists in hotspots like Xinjiang and Hainan were left stranded after officials imposed sudden lockdowns.

Nadya Yeh