As China braces for the 20th National Congress with bated breath, COVID rages again.
As Bloomberg reported, on October 9, the country recorded more than 1,800 cases nationwide. That was a jump from over 1,600 infections from the day before, with Inner Mongolia and the Xinjiang region continuing to be the epicenters.
The Financial Times notes that China’s pandemic situation worsened after the National Day Golden Week holiday. The number of cases expanded even as more lockdowns were launched, with tourist hubs welcoming a significant number of visitors despite officials’ calls not to travel.
The rebounding cases are expected to add more strains to the preparation for the upcoming party congress, which has been scheduled for October 16. Beijing, where the congress will be held, saw cases reaching the highest monthly rate, with 14 infections.
As officials are under pressure to secure the crucial event, more stringent measures have been imposed.
FT reports that this includes restricting interprovincial travel to stop residents from entering the capital. According to the South China Morning Post, tens of thousands of people have been stunned after being denied the “green code” that would allow them to book a trip out of their visiting places.
The Post quotes one person saying, “I’m in a risk-free area in Inner Mongolia. No Covid outbreaks. No close contacts. PCR test conducted every day in the past week … Why can’t I go to Beijing?”
Even a city without any infection has also been locked up. Bloomberg reports that Yongji city of China’s Shanxi province has been closed since October 7, effectively keeping visitors from leaving for their homes after the vacation.