Chinese health authorities have reported a doubling in the daily number of local Covid-19 cases, just days after the country gave hope to its beleaguered tourism industry by easing restrictions on intercity travel. The National Health Commission reported 75 new symptomatic local cases on Sunday, up from 38 a day earlier, and 310 new asymptomatic cases, an increase from 145. China eased pandemic travel restrictions last week, including halving the quarantine period for inbound travellers and removing the “asterisk” system from residents’ “Big Data Itinerary Card”. The asterisks indicated whether a person had travelled to medium or high-risk areas recently and could be used to justify quarantine. Local Covid-19 cases in China began to flare up on Thursday, when the number of new daily asymptomatic cases rose nearly five-fold. Most of the cases reported on Sunday came from the eastern province of Anhui, which had 61 patients with symptoms and 231 without. Within the province, Lingbi county went into lockdown on Friday and in Si county completed a sixth round of mass testing on Sunday morning. Si county health authorities said they would appoint leaders of housing estates and residential blocks to help with health control measures, including ensuring that necessities were delivered to residents and people with special needs were provided for. “When a lockdown is in place, the housing estate chief is responsible for directing and dispatching all the block leaders, unit leaders and volunteers in the district, so that the residents do not step out of their homes,” the county health commission said. “[The estate chief] is responsible for organising and providing door-to-door services such as delivering various necessities.” China’s relaxed Covid-19 rules a nod to science on Omicron, say experts The focus on essentials comes after residents of Shanghai, China’s richest city and one of its best governed, mounted unprecedented protests over food shortages during a sudden two-month lockdown. Some residents had to resort to bartering with neighbours to get necessities. Elsewhere in China, the manufacturing hub of Wuxi in Jiangsu province responded to an emerging cluster by testing 5.6 million residents, or about three-quarters of the city’s population, for a fourth time. The movement of more than 6,000 close contacts and secondary close contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus has also been restricted. But local authorities were determined not to let the outbreak affect economic growth. “[Authorities of] all areas must efficiently coordinate epidemic control and economic and social development,” Wuxi’s Covid-19 command centre said in a notice on Saturday. “They must do all they can to help ensure that projects do not stop and businesses do not halt production.” In a visit to Wuhan, Hubei province, last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s dynamic zero-Covid policy of containing the spread of the disease through strict measures such as citywide lockdowns . “Our population base is large, if we engage in ‘mass natural immunisation’, ‘lying flat’ and other such prevention and control policies, the consequences would be unthinkable,” he said. China is one of the world’s last strongholds for the zero-Covid policy.