China locks down millions of people as COVID cases spike

COVID testing in Changchun
(Image credit: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China reported 3,400 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, up from just under 2,000 on Saturday, marking the worst outbreak since the virus first became widespread in early 2020, according to The Guardian and The Associated Press.

The majority of the new cases were reported in China's northeastern Jilin province. AP and The Guardian report that authorities responded by closing schools in Shanghai and suspending bus service to the city, locking down hundreds of neighborhoods in Jilin City (which has a population of 1.5 million and reported 500 new COVID cases on Sunday), and imposing full lockdowns on several other northeastern cities.

Millions of people have been confined to their homes as China continues its strict zero-COVID policy.

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In December and January, the 13 million inhabitants of Xi'an were forbidden to leave their homes except in emergency situations after public health authorities recorded 52 new cases in the city in one day. The lockdown lasted for a full month.

Chinese state media reported that the mayor of Jilin City and a top public health official in nearby Changchun were both dismissed from their posts on Saturday, according to The Guardian.

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