China Locks Down 30 Million Amid Fresh COVID Surge

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China has imposed a lockdown on 30 million people as it experiences a surge of the Omicron variant.

While the rest of the world has largely viewed the highly transmissible but less severe variant as an opportunity to end the restrictions imposed throughout the pandemic, China continues to react with draconian measures.

On Monday China reported 5,280 new cases, a doubling of the previous day's number. This may seem like a drop in the ocean in a country with a population of over 1.4 billion, but it prompted the authorities to lockdown 13 cities while partially locking down many others.

In scenes not witnessed since the early days of the pandemic, health officials took to the streets clad in hazmat suits.

More than half of the new cases were reported in the NorthEastern province of Jilin. The province's capital of Changchun, home to over nine million residents, has seen its citizens issued with stay at home orders.

The latest pandemic disruption is predicted by experts to severely hinder China's economy, which was relatively unaffected through most of the earlier COVID waves.

The Hong Kong stock exchange dropped by 3% yesterday when the lockdowns were announced.

"The partial containment of wealthy provinces in southern and eastern China is worrying because they account for half of the country’s GDP and population," said analyst Raymond Yeung.

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