China has placed millions of its citizens under renewed lockdown following fresh outbreaks of COVID-19, authorities reported Tuesday, as the government persists in its in its hard-line policy on containing the virus.
The measures affected about half of the 6 million residents of the port city of Dalian, along with an undisclosed number in Chengde and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, both around three hours from the capital Beijing.
Dalians lockdown was due to last five days, although authorities have in past extended restrictions depending on the number of new cases.
Beijing has been relatively unaffected thus far, although travel in and out of the capital has been discouraged and residents are subject to testing on an almost daily basis.
Partial lockdowns have also been imposed on cities such as Chengdu in the southwest, Shenyang in the northeast and Jishui in the southeast.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Such measures are mandated under China's zero-COVID" policy, which contrasts starkly with moves by other nations to coexist with the virus through gradual easing of restrictions, vaccinations, improved therapeutics and voluntary isolation.
China has largely kept its borders closed to foreign visitors, while requiring those who do come to submit to more than a week of quarantine in hotels where sanitary conditions are often poor. Masking and regular testing are also standard and anyone found to have been in close contact with a person confirmed to have the virus is forcibly transported to field hospitals.
The World Health Organization
The Anbound Research Center gave no details of possible changes but said President Xi Jinpings government needs to focus on shoring up sinking growth. It noted the United States, Europe and Japan are recovering economically after easing anti-disease curbs.
Preventing the risk of economic stall should be the priority task, the think tank said in a report titled, Its Time for China to Adjust Its Virus Control and Prevention Policies.
Previous lockdowns have seen tens of millions confined to their homes, sometimes for weeks. A strict lockdownChina on Tuesday reported 1,717 cases of local transmission, 52 of them in Liaoning province where Dalian is located. Most of the cases were reported in Sichuan province, whose capital is Chengdu, and the vast majority were asymptomatic.