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China Warns Against Extra ‘layers’ Of COVID Curbs As Outbreaks Widen

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A boy gets tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a nucleic acid testing site, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai, China, November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

Beijing, – Chinese authorities should take a more targeted approach to tackle COVID outbreaks and rectify any extra “layers’’ of measures.

The state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday, as cities reeled under tighter curbs as cases spread.

China is grappling with its highest tallies of coronavirus cases since April, raising questions about its zero-COVID policy that had frustrated the public and inflicted damage on the world’s second-largest economy.

New domestic cases rose to 8,824 on Wednesday, according to health authority data.

China had repeatedly said it would stick to the zero-COVID policy Inspite of the growing outbreaks but pressure  grew on the central government to rein in over-zealous authorities in the provinces fearing blame for failing to contain the virus.

Thousands of government officials had been punished for various perceived failings in the nearly three years of the pandemic.

“All localities will further improve the level of scientific and precise prevention and control, strive to achieve the greatest prevention and control effect at the least cost, and minimise the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,’’ Xinhua reported.

It cited improvements in the implementation of measures in some major cities such as Zhengzhou, in the central province of Henan.

When infections were found in certain buildings in Zhengzhou only the surrounding areas were being closed and the entire community was not being “ controlled indiscriminately,” Xinhua reported.

The economic costs of COVID in China, where the virus first emerged in December 2019, were being felt in most sectors.

Haima Automobile (000572.SZ) said logistics and personnel movements at its Zhengzhou base had been heavily impacted by COVID-19 since October.

In November, Apple supplier and iPhone assembler Foxconn (2317.TW) was rocked by discontent over stringent COVID measures, with many workers fleeing the site.

In Guangzhou, a southern city of about 19 million where cases hit more than 2,000 for a third straight day on Thursday, officials had launched mass testing, for the time being,  resisting a city-wide lockdown. read more

But some residents suspected a lockdown like the one endured by the financial hub of Shanghai for months this year might be coming.

Mason Long, who worked for a Guangzhou gaming company, said a full lockdown could happen, with most of the city’s 11 districts already had some form of new COVID restriction.(Reuters/NAN)

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