China: lifting of the containment of a large city in the Southwest


The Chinese metropolis of Chengdu (southwest) gradually lifts from Monday an anti-Covid confinement which had led to the closure of schools and businesses, the inhabitants being stranded at home for more than two weeks.

Capital of the province of Sichuan, the city populated by around 21 million people is the largest in the country to have been the subject of confinement since that of the economic capital Shanghai in April-June.

China is imposing a strict health policy against Covid-19 and local officials are under pressure to avoid any explosion of cases before the Communist Party Congress scheduled for mid-October.

“Thanks to everyone’s efforts, the epidemic has been effectively brought under control in Chengdu,” the city hall said in a statement on Sunday.

Public administrations, public transport and businesses, which have been shut down since September 1, can resume their activity. Schools will gradually reopen.

Anyone wishing to enter a public place (office, apartment building, shopping center, gym, swimming pool, etc.) must, however, present a negative PCR test dated less than 72 hours.

A measure similar to that applied in other major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

No new positive cases were reported Monday in Chengdu.

During the confinement, some residents had told AFP that they had not been able to leave their homes during a powerful earthquake, felt in the city and whose epicenter was located about 200 km away.

Chengdu will host the table tennis world championships from the end of September in a health bubble, similar to that of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in February-March in Beijing.

It will be one of the few international sporting events China has hosted since the pandemic began.

On Sunday, 27 people died in the accident of the bus which took them to a place of quarantine in the neighboring province of Guizhou (southwest).

Local authorities apologized and launched an investigation into the tragedy, which triggered strong popular resentment against the excesses of health policy.

“What proof do you have that it is not you who will one day be in this car one night?”, wrote a user on the Weibo social network, a comment that has gone viral and “liked” thousands of times.

The Ministry of Health on Monday reported 807 new positive cases in China in the past 24 hours.

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