China reported dozens of new local infections with the Corona virus on Saturday, a day after the government confirmed its commitment to the strict measures designed to limit the spread of the epidemic within its borders.
On Sunday, the country’s National Health Commission reported 74 new cases the day before, 50 of which were locally transmitted. A wave of cases has reached the majority of its 31 counties, in the widest spread since the early days of the coronavirus last year.
The data was released after officials said at a press conference in Beijing that China will continue to adhere to prevention measures even as other countries in the region drop their non-coronavirus policies.
Wu Liangyu, an official with the National Health Commission, said China has faced a “complex and serious challenge this winter and next spring” in controlling the virus, because the epidemic has remained at high levels in neighboring countries and around the world.
In China, which is hosting the Winter Olympics for the first time in February next year, new cases slowed down slightly in the middle of 2020 and authorities have responded quickly to any possibility of a major outbreak since then.
The emergence of a highly contagious delta species inland, which hit the eastern city of Nanjing in July, has prompted dramatic measures aimed at curbing its spread, including travel restrictions.
There are signs of increasingly stringent restrictions in the country, which has reported nearly 1,000 new cases since mid-October. Last weekend, tens of thousands of visitors were locked up inside Shanghai’s Disneyland for mass auditions after a case involving the park was discovered the day before. The government also warned families not to stockpile food in an emergency.
China’s efforts to control the epidemic come against the backdrop of a broader economic slowdown, with economists in recent months noting the impact of restrictions on consumer spending, along with a weak real estate sector and energy shortages.
While third-quarter gross domestic product fell to its slowest pace of growth in a year, at 4.9 percent, data on Sunday showed resilience in China’s exports, which also helped propel its swift recovery from the early stages of the pandemic last year. In dollar terms, exports beat expectations for a 27 percent year-on-year increase in October.
“China’s economy appears [a] A similar pattern in October as in previous months, said Xu Zhang, chief economist at Pinpoint Asset Management: Exports remained strong due to the recovery in global demand, while domestic activities are likely to remain weak, driven in part by the regional COVID-19 outbreak.