More Chinese cities impose coronavirus curbs as Shanghai cases rise

Symptomatic cases in the city of 28.5 million rose by a record 3,590 on Saturday despite restrictions

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Shanghai reported a record number of symptomatic Covid-19 cases on Saturday, as other areas of China imposed restrictions under its “dynamic clearance” approach to tackling the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone near Henan, a central Chinese manufacturing area that includes Apple supplier Foxconn, announced a 14-day lockdown on Friday “to be adjusted according to the epidemic situation".

In north-western China, the city of Xian on Friday urged residents to avoid unnecessary trips outside their residential compounds and encouraged companies to have employees work from home or live at their workplace following dozens of Covid-19 infections this month.

A Xian government official, responding to residents' concerns about the possibility of food shortages, said on Saturday that the announcement did not constitute a lockdown and that the city would not impose one.

Shanghai, at the centre of China's recent outbreak, on Saturday reported a record 3,590 symptomatic cases for April 15, as well as 19,923 asymptomatic cases. Shanghai has a population of about 28.5 million people.

The asymptomatic case number was up slightly from 19,872 a day earlier.

The city's tally makes up the vast majority of Covid-19 cases nationwide even as most of its 25 million residents remain under lockdown.

The city of Suzhou, near Shanghai, said on Saturday that all employees capable of working from home must do so, and residential compounds and company campuses should avoid unnecessary entry of people and vehicles.

It has reported more than 500 infections in its latest outbreak.

At the Zhengzhou facility, only personnel with valid passes, health codes and proof of negative Covid tests will be allowed to leave the zone during the period, although special vehicles will be permitted to travel normally for work reasons, economic zone authorities said in a post on an official WeChat instant messaging account.

Overall, China reported 24,791 new coronavirus cases on April 15, of which 3,896 were symptomatic and 20,895 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

That compares with 24,268 new cases a day earlier when there were 3,486 symptomatic and 20,782 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

Updated: April 16, 2022, 9:10 AM