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The southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou began citywide Covid-19 testing on Wednesday after confirmed cases climbed to 27. Photo: AFP

Chinese manufacturing hub Guangzhou starts citywide Covid-19 testing

  • Districts warn residents that missed tests could result in ‘a lot of inconvenience’ and ‘legal consequences’ as city faces ‘very critical period’
  • The city’s Haizhu district, a textile and garment industry centre, emerges as hotspot in latest outbreak
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou started citywide Covid-19 testing on Wednesday as infections rose in the manufacturing hub.

Some districts sent notices warning residents that missed tests would “bring a lot of inconvenience to your life” and could even have “legal consequences”, and residential areas urged people to complete tests before heading to work in the morning.

The Covid-19 situation in the southern Chinese factory base is “in a very critical period”, the Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission said on Wednesday.

Covid-19 in China: Guangzhou locks down residential areas and bans dining in one district

Guangzhou reported 27 confirmed and 46 asymptomatic cases on October 25, with five local confirmed cases and 21 asymptomatic cases found in the city’s Haizhu district.

Zhang Yi, the commission’s deputy director, said the city aimed to control outbreaks emerging from certain hotspots and prevent spillover and large increases in case numbers. For cases that spread to other districts, “we will pursue and intercept them one by one while strengthening regular checks”, she said.
She added that a recent outbreak affecting Haizhu district’s textile and garment industry had triggered a new round of transmission.


How ordinary people in China view the country’s ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ policy

How ordinary people in China view the country’s ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ policy

Since Sunday, the district has issued three notices escalating pandemic control measures.

The first suspended cinemas, gymnasiums, swimming pools and other entertainment venues and encouraged employees to work from home. It also required people entering residential compounds, workplaces and other public places to show negative test results from the previous 48 hours.

Officials subsequently closed off the district’s universities, vocational schools and technical colleges and suspended child care and tutoring services. Some shipping companies, wholesale markets, industrial estates and Guangzhou’s largest fabric market had to halt production and business.

The third notice, effective from October 24 to 26, suspended the district’s kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and banned dine-in services at restaurants.

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Cindy Liu, an office worker from Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district, said she felt the situation had become more severe since last week, when local infections started to jump to over 20 a day and tighter controls were put in place.

“I began to hear about people’s health code colour changing to red and people being quarantined in hotels,” Liu said. A red code in China’s health tracking app indicates possible Covid-19 exposure and restricts a user’s travel and entrance to public venues.

“Yesterday I went to lunch and everything was fine, but when I came back the office building refused to let me in because they imposed a new rule for entry requiring a negative PCR test from within 48 hours. I eventually slipped in from an entrance in the car park.”

Liu said residents were concerned this would mark the beginning of more frequent testing as has been seen in neighbouring Shenzhen for much of this year. She and her friends have started to store food to prepare for sudden quarantine.


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Art student in US dons dozens of hazmat suits to process trauma of China’s zero-Covid lockdowns
Covid-19 infections have rebounded in some Chinese cities since the National Day holiday in early October.

Residents in Xining, capital of the northwestern Qinghai province, have complained online about prolonged lockdowns since the end of August and a shortage of food supplies.

The Xining government responded to the complaints on Wednesday, saying that the food shortage was because of the closure of a distribution centre believed to be the source of outbreaks. Many fruit and vegetable vendors were considered medium- or high-risk for Covid-19, which has made it difficult to secure supplies, the Xining Municipal Health Commission said on Wednesday.


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‘Caught in a dilemma’: Beijingers frustrated by 3 years of Covid travel curbs in Chinese capital

Chen Xiaoping, director of the Xining Municipal Bureau of Commerce, said most urban vegetable and fruit vendors get their produce from distribution centres, putting them at higher risk and requiring them to complete three to five rounds of testing before their stores could reopen.

Xining reported three asymptomatic local cases on October 20. As of Tuesday, a total of 92 asymptomatic infections had been reported, according to the municipal health commission.

Cities such as Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, and Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province, have also faced lockdowns in residential areas, with social media users posting complaints on Weibo.