Guangdong province reported a total of 185 confirmed local cases and 1,882 asymptomatic cases on Monday, with 122 confirmed cases and 1,813 asymptomatic cases in the provincial capital Guangzhou.
It was the second day in a row the city, which has a population of roughly 18 million, had reported more than 1,000 daily cases.
Guangzhou has imposed restrictions on parts of the city with severe outbreaks and moved more than 30,000 people into centralised quarantine. Daily mass testing is also required for those who have visited high-risk areas.
Over the weekend, Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou health commission, said the city was “experiencing the most complex and severe Covid-19 prevention and control situation in three years”.
About 94 per cent of the new cases in the past few days had been in the densely populated district of Haizhu, Guangzhou authorities said on Monday.
This week, the main battle against Covid-19 will continue to be fought in Haizhu, with more than 2,500 medical workers sent to the area to do door-to-door testing.
The Guangzhou government has also told landlords in the area to better inform tenants, urge them to comply with testing and be aware of their needs.
Nearly 3 years of Covid curbs take their toll on China’s middle class with many seeking counselling
Authorities called for residents to stay indoors as much as possible to cut transmissions. They also warned that some people had violated the city’s prevention and control methods by moving fences to go outside or pass packages to one another.
Zhang Zhoubin, Communist Party secretary of the Guangzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Sunday the new outbreak was mostly caused by the fast spread of the Omicron BA.5.2 variant.
“The virus is fast, stealthy and can lead to aerosol transmission in dense buildings and alleyways, so the dense population created a suitable environment for transmission,” he said.
Death of 3-year-old boy in China sparks outrage over continuing zero-Covid lockdowns
Outbreaks have flared across China in recent days. On Monday, the country reported a total of 535 confirmed local cases and 4,961 asymptomatic cases. More than 1,000 of the infections were found in Inner Mongolia in the north, while Xinjiang had more than 500 cases and the central province of Henan had over 200 cases.
In Beijing, where 55 local infections were reported for Sunday, schools in various districts moved to online classes as a precaution.
Beijing government spokesman Xu Hejian said preventing the spread of infections from outside the city remained the top priority of the capital’s control efforts.
“We insist on being moderately strict as well as scientific and precise. We will optimise the policy and measures for entering and returning to Beijing for epidemic prevention,” Xu said.
“Emergency relief channels will be broadened for those in crisis situations such as for medical treatment or visiting critically ill family members and important business activities.”
Last week, Chinese health authorities warned of a high incidence of Covid-19 as flu season approached, saying the country must face the challenge of a variety of respiratory diseases this autumn and winter.
Some had speculated that China might relax its strict zero-Covid policy after the close of the party’s national congress last month, but the central government has given no sign it will lift restrictions, despite concerns that the rules are hurting the economy and exhausting the population.
However, some cities have made small adjustments to their policies because of financial and personnel strains.
The southeastern city of Fuzhou in Fujian province announced that data on the movements of people with asymptomatic infections would no longer be collected or announced so as to improve contact tracing. The city reported 38 local infections for Sunday.