Wednesday, April 17

Guangzhou closes schools, Shanghai record cases

All 11 districts of Guangzhou city began another round of mass Covid testing late last week, while elementary and middle schools shifted to online learning as of Monday.

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BEIJING — Another major Chinese city has tightened Covid restrictions as the country struggles to contain a nationwide outbreak stretching from Shanghai in the southeast to the northern provinces.

The southern city of Guangzhou closed in-person classes at elementary and middle schools as of Monday, shifting courses online. The measures will last for at least a week, according to a city announcement over the weekend.

Municipal authorities said locals should not leave the city unless necessary, and would need a negative virus test from within the last 48 hours to do so.

Guangzhou — capital of Guangdong, a manufacturing-heavy province — reported 27 new Covid cases for Sunday, including 9 without symptoms. That’s up from a total of 11 cases a day earlier, according to the National Health Commission.

Shanghai reported a record high combined number of cases for Sunday, 914 with symptoms and 25,173 without. For Saturday, authorities reported 1,006 cases with symptoms and 23,937 asymptomatic ones.

The southeastern metropolis accounts for most of mainland China’s new Covid cases. Shanghai remains in lockdown — with most people forced to stay in their apartments and get food by delivery — about a week after a two-part shutdown was originally supposed to end.

Shanghai had shifted elementary and middle schools to online learning about a month ago on March 12. The two-stage lockdown began on March 28 in the name of mass virus testing.

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All 11 districts of Guangzhou city began another round of mass testing late last week. The city said Saturday it is in the process of turning an expo center into a makeshift hospital.

The latest wave of cases stems from the highly transmissible omicron variant and marks the worst Covid outbreak on the mainland since the initial phase of the pandemic in early 2020.

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After battling a spike in Covid cases since late February, the northern province of Jilin — home to many automobile factories — has started to see a leveling out. The number of daily new Covid cases in Jilin has fallen from more than 1,000 or 2,000 a day, including asymptomatic ones, to several hundred a day.

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Beijing, the capital of China, reported no new locally transmitted cases for Sunday. The surrounding province of Hebei reported 100 new cases, all asymptomatic.

Other major cities across the country, including Xi’an and Chengdu in central China, and Suzhou and Nanjing closer to the coast, each reported less than 10 new cases with symptoms for Sunday.

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