China imposes lockdowns as COVID-19 surges after holiday

Oct 9, 2022, 12:24 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2022, 3:24 am
A man wearing a mask passes by propaganda for the upcoming 20th Party Congress with the words "Fore...

A man wearing a mask passes by propaganda for the upcoming 20th Party Congress with the words "Forever follow the Party, Jointly Build the China Dream" in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of the major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

              A man wearing a mask passes by propaganda for the upcoming 20th Party Congress with the words "Forever follow the Party, Jointly Build the China Dream" in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of the major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
            
              Workers decorate a display celebrating the upcoming 20th Party Congress to be held in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of the major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
            
              A woman wears a mask as she passes by propaganda for the upcoming 20th Party Congress to be held in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of the major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
            
              A woman wearing a mask carries a child past workers decorating a display celebrating the upcoming 20th Party Congress to be held in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of the major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
            
              A child wearing a face mask is accompanied by her guardian as she walks through a barricade placed outside a school in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              Residents get their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site at a public park in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              A woman wearing a face mask walks by communist symbol of a stars on display outside a restaurant in Beijing, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. Chinese cities are imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions as the number of daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday and ahead of a major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              Residents wearing face masks line up to get their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site at a public park in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              A man wearing a face mask collects his testing tube as masked residents line up to register to get their routine COVID-19 throat swabs at a coronavirus testing site in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              A vendor rides on a bicycle selling sugar-coated Chinese haw at a public park in Beijing, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese cities were imposing fresh lockdowns and travel restrictions after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases tripled during a weeklong holiday, ahead of a major Communist Party meeting in Beijing next week.

The latest lockdown started Monday in Fenyang city in northern China’s Shanxi province after a preliminary positive case was found in citywide testing the previous day, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

In the nearby Inner Mongolia region, the capital Hohhot announced that outside vehicles and passengers would be prohibited from entering the city starting Tuesday. Hohhot has recorded more than 2,000 cases over about 12 days.

China is one of the few places in the world still resorting to harsh measures to keep the disease from spreading. The long-ruling Communist Party is particularly concerned as it tries to present a positive image of the nation in the run-up to a once-in-five-years party congress that starts Sunday.

Travel was down during an annual National Day holiday that began Oct. 1, as authorities discouraged people from leaving their cities and provinces. But the number of new daily cases has still grown to about 1,800 from 600 at the start of the break.

Leaders don’t want a major outbreak to cast a pall over the congress, but their strict “zero-COVID” approach has taken an economic toll, particularly on small businesses and temporary workers. Many in China hope the pandemic policy will ease after the meeting.

Outbreaks have been reported across the country, with the largest in Inner Mongolia and the far-west Xinjiang region. Both have been recording several hundred new cases a day.

Both Shanghai, where residents endured prolonged lockdowns earlier this year, and the national capital Beijing have had a small but growing number of cases. Two Shanghai districts announced closures of cinemas and other entertainment venues on Monday.

Lining up for a free virus test several times a week has become the norm for many Chinese, with Beijing and other cities requiring a negative test result within 72 hours to enter parks, office buildings, shops and other public places.

___

This article has been corrected to say that two Shanghai districts announced closures of cinemas and other entertainment venues on Monday, not last week.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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China imposes lockdowns as COVID-19 surges after holiday