Rare cry for help as China’s zero tolerance for COVID hits border city – .

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Rare cry for help as China’s zero tolerance for COVID hits border city – .


Staff in protective gear check evidence of negative test results for travelers at an entrance to Harbin West train station following new local cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province , China, September 22, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS

BEIJING, October 28 (Reuters) – A former vice mayor of a Chinese town on the border with Myanmar lamented local lockdowns and disruption caused by repeated COVID-19 outbreaks and wrote a rare call for a coup of Beijing’s “strong” hand.

Ruili, in Yunnan province, has faced some of the country’s toughest restrictions under Beijing’s zero tolerance policy, as a key international transit point for southwest China, to following several epidemics since last year.

China’s border cities, facing a higher risk of infection from overseas and many with relatively few resources, have tended to experience more severe disruption than wealthier cities. Read more

“Since this small town has taken responsibility for the prevention and control of the epidemic throughout the country, our homeland should reach out to protect this tortured child,” Dai Rongli, vice mayor of Ruili wrote in 2018, on his WeChat account in a rare manifestation of anguish over China’s COVID brakes.

This remote corner of China has been plagued by reports of asymptomatic carriers in recent days. Although not completely locked up, Ruili does not encourage its more than 200,000 residents to leave the city. Those who insist, except those planning essential travel, should be quarantined for at least seven days before departure.

“The long-term closure of the city has resulted in a deadlock in the development of the city,” Dai wrote. “It is necessary to resume production and trade. “

The Ruili government did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Reuters Charts

NORTHEAST CHINA

In the northeast, a few border towns have started to tighten COVID-19 measures as China battles an outbreak primarily hitting the north.

China reported 23 locally transmitted symptomatic cases on Wednesday, official data showed Thursday, bringing the total to 270 since Oct. 17, when the current outbreak began.

Although the tally is small compared to infections elsewhere in the world, the spread to more than a dozen provincial regions has forced authorities to tighten restrictions, squeezing the service sector, including tourism and restaurant businesses. .

In northeastern Heilongjiang province, which shares a border with Russia, the city of Heihe on Wednesday detected a confirmed local case.

The city of 1.3 million people has demanded the suspension of manufacturing and business operations in urban areas, except in core areas, and has cut transport services in these areas as well as outbound routes .

Reuters Charts

“EXTREME ATTENTION”

China’s high vaccination rate should in principle allow it to switch to a less disruptive strategy, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior Chinese economist at Capital Economics.

As of October 23, 76 percent of China’s 1.41 billion people had received full doses.

“But extreme caution prevails,” he said. “Any change seems unlikely before at least after the Winter Olympics in February. ” Read more

Jiamusi city, also on the Heilongjiang-Russia border, has yet to report a case in the latest outbreak, but has banned people arriving from outside from entering city sights for seven days .

Two other Heilongjiang cities, Jixi and Mudanjiang, have pledged to enter a “pre-war” mode of high vigilance and strict surveillance, although no local infections were reported last week.

Reporting by Ryan Woo and Roxanne Liu; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Michael Perry and Nick Macfie

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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