Lockdowns and travel restrictions are continuing to cause chaos across China in the run-up to a crucial political meeting next week as the government holds fast to hard-line zero-COVID policies. As thousands of Communist party delegates prepare to descend on Beijing for the twice-a-decade Congress meeting, where Xi Jinping is expected to start his third term as leader, local authorities are under pressure to control and contain outbreaks. This week 2,883 cases were reported across more than 25 provinces, including 227 on Wednesday. The number is small compared with global cases but relatively high for China’s zero-tolerance approach. China’s government has remained committed to its zero-COVID policy, despite major damage to the economy and growing opposition from the general public to frequent sudden lockdowns that trap people inside their homes, shops and workplaces, and other overzealous reactions to handfuls of cases.
Lalita Panicker is consulting editor, views, Hindustan Times, New Delhi