FAQ | Why Is China Locking Down Chengdu Again? Will We See Another COVID Wave?

Chinese authorities locked down the southwestern province of Chengdu,

3 min read
FAQ | Why Is China Locking Down Chengdu Again? Will We See Another COVID Wave?

On Wednesday, 31 August, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the number of fresh COVID cases and deaths worldwide have continued to fall nearly everywhere in the world.

But, just one day since that briefing, on Thursday, 1 September, China announced a lockdown in Chengdu, the capital of the South Sichuan province, which is home to over 21.2 million people.

Journalists and Chinese bloggers shared photos of the resultant rush to buy and stock up on essentials.

Citizens of Chengdu stocking up on supplies. Picture shared by Chinese blogger Jennifer Zeng.

(Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Zeng/Twitter)

So what's triggering this sudden city-wide lockdown in Chengdu? Are COVID cases set to rise everywhere, even as the WHO reports a global decline in numbers? Let's find out.


Why is China locking down Chengdu?

In a recent COVID spike, after 766 fresh cases were recorded from Chengdu, Chinese authorities initiated the lockdown. Yang Xiaoguang, the Director of Chengdu's Health Commission, stated, "The spread of this round of epidemic is fast, with much hidden transmission, scattered cases, and a wide range of risk places. The epidemic situation in the whole city is extremely complex and severe."

When asked about China's measures to fight COVID, epidemiologist Dr JP Muliyil told Quint FIT, "China has followed a zero-COVID policy. They can do so because they're a totalitarian country. They use technology and rules to control people."


What activities are allowed and prohibited under Chengdu's lockdown?

Health authorities have prohibited residents from leaving their homes after 6 pm, except for medical care or other special needs. Every household is allowed to send one person out daily to buy groceries, given that they have a negative COVID report from the last 24 hours.

Authorities have also announced the closure of all non-essential institutions, except public service enterprises which will provide essentials. Restaurants have been prohibited from dine-in services and public travel operations have been reduced, with all travellers needing to show a 24-hour negative COVID report.

Citizens of Chengdu bulk buying chickens. Picture shared by Chinese blogger Jennifer Zeng.

(Photo Courtesy: Jennifer Zeng/Twitter)


How long will Chengdu be locked down?

Chinese authorities have not mentioned an end date for the lockdown, but they have initiated PCR and COVID testing for all the 21.2 million residents of the southwestern province. They have added that all the residents will be subjected to a four-day course of COVID testing.

According to flight info provider VariFlight, authorities have also cancelled over 60 percent of the flights in and out of the Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport and 80 percent of the flights from/to the Tianfu International Airport.


Why is there a spike in COVID cases in China?

Chengdu's local health authorities laid blame for the spike in cases on increased "water activities." Authorities said, "There was an increase in local residents participating in water activities because of extreme heat over the past weeks."

The increased close contact, lack of personal protection, and other safety measures during these activities increased the risk of local transmission, the authorities added.

Authorities have said that there are 198 high-risk areas and 183 medium-risk areas in Chengdu at present, state-run Global Times reported.


Is another spike in COVID cases likely across the world?

The WHO reported 4.5 million new COVID cases in the last week of August 2022, a 16 percent drop from the previous week. COVID deaths also dropped by 13 percent to 13,500 fatalities. However, WHO has said that in Southeast Asia, COVID deaths rose by 15 percent.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also cautioned about the emergence of newer, more dangerous variants of COVID with the onset of winter.

The United Nations health organization has also advised vaccination as the best preventive measure, adding that nearly 30 percent of health workers and 20 percent of older adults continue to remain unimmunized.

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Topics:   China   COVID-19   COVID 

Edited By :Garima Sadhwani
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