China has reported the largest number of daily Covid cases since the beginning of the epidemic, despite rigorous efforts to eradicate the virus.
There are outbreaks in numerous major cities, including Beijing, the capital, and Guangzhou, the southern commercial powerhouse.
On Wednesday, China recorded 31,527 cases, surpassing the peak of about 28,000 cases recorded in April, when the country’s largest city, Shanghai, was quarantined.
It comes at a time when strict lockdowns continue to provoke outbreaks of unrest.
China’s zero-Covid policy has saved lives in the country’s 1.4 billion-person population, but at the expense of the economy and the lives of ordinary citizens.
However, the rising number of cases also coincides with the country’s recent relaxation of some Covid restrictions.
It reduced the quarantine period for close contacts from seven days in a state facility to five days in a state facility and three days at home, and it stopped recording secondary contacts, allowing many more people to avoid quarantining.
Officials have also attempted to avoid imposing blanket lockdowns similar to those Shanghai endured earlier this year.
Faced with a resurgence in the number of cases in Beijing, as well as the virus’s first fatalities in several months, officials have already implemented restrictions in several districts, closing stores, schools, and restaurants.
Officials announced that, beginning Friday, the central city of Zhengzhou will impose a lockdown on its six million residents.
It follows violent demonstrations at a massive industrial complex owned by iPhone manufacturer Foxconn. The company issued an apology for a “technical error” in its payment processing systems.
Inciting public resentment, additional accounts of suffering and desperation have been shared online.
Last week, reports that a baby in Zhengzhou died due to a delay in her medical care caused by Covid restrictions sparked a massive uproar.
China is the only major economy still pursuing the eradication of Covid through mass testing and lockdown regulations.
Nonetheless, instances of the virus are already being reported in 31 provinces.
President Xi Jinping has said that stringent restrictions are required to safeguard China’s massive senior population. Vaccination rates are lower than those of other industrialized countries, and only fifty percent of those over the age of 80 have had their core immunizations.
China is seeing a rise in infections, although the incidence is still far lower than in many other developed nations at the pandemic’s height.
Since the outbreak started, China’s official death toll has remained modest at slightly over 5,200.
This amounts to three Covid fatalities per million in China, compared to 3,000 in the United States and 2,400 in the United Kingdom.