A record wave of COVID-19 infections has sparked further restrictions for the population in China, with the health commission in Beijing reporting more than 31,000 new cases nationwide on Thursday.
While the number is not exceptionally high in comparison to the international landscape, it is the largest increase in cases in China since the chaos of the early days of the pandemic.
China has continues to pursue a strict zero-COVID strategy of lockdowns, daily mass testing, strict monitoring, contact-tracing and forced quarantine.
Nevertheless, the number of new infections had risen sharply again, especially in recent weeks, triggering increasing levels of restrictions.
The Chinese government had recently relaxed some COVID-19 rules, including a reduction in the duration of the quarantine period required when entering China from 10 to eight days.
But there can be no question of a lasting relaxation.
New measures have recently been imposed in almost all major cities, including the capital, where schools, kindergartens and shops are closed and residents have been asked stay home if possible.
Increasingly, residential complexes are also being completely sealed off.
In the particularly hard-hit southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou, which has seen violent protests against the COVID-19 measures, several districts are in total lockdown.
Shanghai, meanwhile, announced that travelers coming to the city will not be allowed to go to restaurants or shops for five days.
China’s economy has been suffering under Beijing’s zero-COVID approach, which demands that any outbreaks of the virus are clamped down on immediately.