Protests, lockdowns: Covid is back in China

Published November 27th, 2022 - 05:56 GMT
Covid protests in China
This frame grab from eyewitness video footage made available via AFPTV on November 27, 2022 shows demonstrators shouting slogans as police hold their positions, in Shanghai. Angry crowds took to the streets in Shanghai in the early hours of November 27 and videos on social media showed protests in other cities across China, as public opposition to the government's hardline zero-Covid policy mounts.

Angry crowds took to the streets of Shanghai early Sunday calling for an end to lockdowns, as China grapples with mounting public protests against its zero-Covid policy, AFP reports. 

A deadly fire on Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang region, spurred an outpouring of anger as many social media users blamed lengthy Covid lockdowns in the city for hampering rescue efforts, it added.

In Shanghai's central Wulumuqi street, named for Urumqi in Mandarin, in a video widely shared on social media and geolocated by AFP, some protesters can be heard chanting "Xi Jinping, step down! CCP, step down!" in a rare display of public opposition to the country's top leadership.

Meanwhile the country reported 31,709 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, while 1,893 patients were released from hospital care after fully recovering in the last 24 hours according to Anadolu. Of total new cases, only 3,474 exhibited symptoms, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a written statement, adding that over 11.4 million people had been "identified as having had close contact with infected patients."

It noted that more than 1.6 million people are still under medical observation, while 12,624 asymptomatic cases were "freed from medical observation" on Friday. In Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwestern China, local officials said COVID-19 cases were cleared from the regional capital Urumqi at the community level and that order would be restored to the lives of residents in low-risk areas "in a phased manner," according to Global Times.

While the officials said the city still contained high-risk areas, they said there were still about 100 daily confirmed infections over the past two days. High-risk areas revert back to the low-risk level once no new COVID-19 infections are identified for five straight days.

China, with a population of over 1.4 billion, confirmed 304,093 COVID-19 cases to date according to the Turkish news agency. The Covid-19 death toll in China stands at 5,232, while about 269,116 people have recovered from the virus.

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