Just days after China announced an easing in coronavirus rules, local governments throughout the country are grappling with the growing challenge of containing new outbreaks without imposing excessive measures . On Wednesday, the country reported 20,059 new local infections, including 18,491 asymptomatic cases, up from 17,772 a day earlier. China reported about 1,000 local infections daily at the end of last month. In Beijing, Peking University locked down the entire campus after finding one Covid-19 case. Faculty, staff and students were not allowed to leave the grounds and classes were moved online. The campus will conduct testing three times a day until Friday. The spike in cases put China’s overhauled Covid-19 control measures to the test as the central government shifted to a more targeted strategy. On Friday, the State Council announced 20 changes to its Covid-19 restrictions, including reduced quarantine times, and elimination of the need to identify medium-risk areas and secondary close contacts. Lockdowns and citywide mass testing measures were also relaxed. Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the new flare-ups had nothing to do with the eased measures, saying it was only a matter of time before a large-scale outbreak occurred in China. “China is the only country in the world that has not experienced a major outbreak. This is a highly possible event,” he said. “Implementing the 20 rules is actually helpful for the entire country to deal with possible broken defence lines in the future.” Online searches for China flights soar after Beijing slashes Covid-19 curbs: Trip.com Authorities in Beijing, Chongqing and Guangdong province, which have all seen record outbreaks in the past six months, issued instructions on pandemic prevention and control on Tuesday, while stressing the importance of quickly containing the outbreaks under the new rules. Beijing’s newly appointed Communist Party secretary, Yin Li, a former deputy health minister, told authorities to use information technology to track positive cases, identify close contacts, and transfer the patients to ensure they are under quarantine. “[We should] dynamically optimise and adjust prevention and control strategies according to the development and trend of the epidemic,” he said. The capital reported 374 new infections on Wednesday, down from 462 a day earlier. Chaoyang district, Beijing’s hardest hit area, removed testing booths from the streets on Monday in response to the new rules, but reopened them the next day after residents complained of long queues to enter shopping malls and office buildings, which often require negative tests in the previous 24 hours. “The introduction of prevention and control measures should be scientifically based , solicit opinions from frontline cadres, pay attention to the feelings of the masses, and address public demands,” Yin said. The southwest municipality of Chongqing further tightened controls on people travelling in and out of the city after it reported 2,814 infections on Wednesday, 126 of which were symptomatic. Chongqing deputy party secretary Hu Henghua urged authorities to quickly stop the outbreak in downtown areas and curb the spread to “achieve clearance as soon as possible”. In a notice issued on Tuesday, local health authorities urged people not to leave Chongqing unless necessary. The city has identified hundreds of high-risk areas , with cases sometimes isolated to a single unit within a building. People who are not under lockdown in those areas are still allowed to move around. People in high-risk areas or under temporary restrictions are not allowed to leave the city, while most others must apply to their village or community level authority for approval one day in advance. China county calls on retired PLA personnel to work at Foxconn’s iPhone factory To be approved, they must provide three negative tests from the previous 72 hours, provide a record of activities from the past seven days and a valid reason for leaving. In the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong province, party chief Huang Kunming visited the epicentre of an outbreak in the capital of Guangzhou on Tuesday. He urged local authorities to speed up construction of makeshift hospitals and other quarantine sites. As of Monday, Guangzhou was operating six makeshift hospitals to house quarantined asymptomatic patients, according to Zhang Yi, deputy director of the municipal health commission. The number of daily local infections in Guangzhou jumped to another record on Wednesday, with 158 local cases and 6,138 asymptomatic cases reported. During an inspection tour of the makeshift hospitals, Huang told authorities to improve prevention and control measures, “speed up construction” of the makeshift hospitals, and expand the number and capacity of centralised isolation facilities. “Ensure that all patients are taken care of , quarantined and cured,” he said. In northwest Xinjiang, authorities in Yining announced that the city would gradually start to reopen and resume business activities from Wednesday after more than three months of lockdown.