Covid outbreak in China: Guangzhou schools are closed, while new cases in Shanghai are at an all-time high

As the country attempts to contain a countrywide outbreak ranging from Shanghai in the southeast to the northern provinces, another major Chinese city has strengthened Covid restrictions.

In China’s south, Guangzhou shut down in-person classes at elementary and middle schools on Monday, moving classes to the internet. According to a local notification made over the weekend, the measures will last at least a week.

Locals should only leave the city if absolutely required, and they must have a negative virus test from within the last 48 hours to do so.

Guangzhou, the metropolis of the manufacturing-heavy province of Guangdong, reported 27 new Covid cases on Sunday, including nine without symptoms. According to the National Health Commission, this is up from a total of 11 instances a day earlier.

On Sunday, Shanghai reported a new high for the total number of cases: 914 with symptoms and 25,173 without. Authorities reported 1,006 instances with symptoms and 23,937 asymptomatic cases on Saturday.

The majority of mainland China’s new Covid cases come from the southern city. About a week after a two-part shutdown was meant to end, Shanghai remains in lockdown, with most residents having to stay in their flats and order food via delivery.

On March 12, Shanghai began converting primary and middle schools to online learning. On March 28, a two-stage lockdown was implemented in the name of mass virus testing.

Late last week, all 11 districts of Guangzhou city began a new round of mass testing. The city said on Saturday that it is converting an expo centre into a makeshift hospital.

The most recent wave of cases is caused by the highly transmissible omicron form, and it is the most severe Covid outbreak on the mainland since the pandemic began in early 2020.