China expands lockdowns as COVID-19 cases hit daily record
BEIJING (AP) — China is expanding lockdowns, including in a cental city where factory workers clashed this week with police, as its number of COVID-19 cases hit a daily record.
People in eight districts of Zhengzhou with a total of 6.6 million residents were told to stay home for five days beginning Thursday, except to buy food or get medical treatment. Daily mass testing was ordered in what the city government called a “war of annihilation” against the virus.
During clashes Tuesday and Wednesday, Zhengzhou police beat workers protesting over a pay dispute at the biggest factory for Apple’s iPhone.
Across China, the number of new cases reported in the past 24 hours was 31,444, the National Health Commission said Thursday. That is the highest daily figure since the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The daily average of reported cases is steadily increasing. This week, authorities reported China’s first COVID-19 deaths in six months, bringing the total to 5,232.
While the numbers of cases and deaths are relatively low compared to the U.S. and other countries, China's ruling Communist Party remains committed to its “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to isolate every case and eliminate the virus entirely while other governments end anti-virus controls and rely on vaccinations and immunity from past infections to prevent deaths and serious illness.
Businesses and residential communities from the manufacturing center of Guangzhou in the south to Beijing in the north have also been placed under various forms of lockdown, measures that particularly affects blue-collar migrant workers. In many cases, residents say the restrictions go beyond what the national government allows.
Guangzhou suspended access Monday to its Baiyun...