For now, China is sticking to the same strict playbook. Across the country, the government has ordered people not to travel unless necessary. In the cities of Zhangjiajie and Zhuzhou, 5.4 million people have been prevented from leaving their homes. About 13 million residents of Zhengzhou City, the site of deadly flooding in July, had to queue for virus tests from last weekend.
In Nanjing, where the recent Delta cases first surfaced, millions of residents had to participate in four rounds of testing.
“It’s just torturing the masses,” said Jiang Ruoling, a resident of Nanjing, who has been tested four times in the past three weeks. Ms. Jiang, who works in real estate, said she understands the need for testing, but still criticizes officials for failing to control the latest outbreak. “Leaders are actually wasting everyone’s resources and time,” she said.
Yanzhong Huang, senior researcher for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said China’s “containment-based” strategy will not work in the long term, especially as new variants continue to emerge. “It will become extremely expensive to maintain such an approach,” he said.