The main campus of Peking University was closed in one case, as angry Guangzhou residents refused to go into isolation.
The main campus of Peking University in Beijing has been closed, as the COVID-19 crisis in cities across China has forced millions into isolation and depression as the government continues its zero-COVID strategy.
Students and staff at the university were told on Wednesday that they would not be allowed to leave the grounds unless necessary and classes were moved online at one school through Friday, according to a statement from the university. The move follows the discovery of a single case of COVID-19.
Beijing reported more than 350 cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, a fraction of its 21-million population but enough to trigger the same lockdown and quarantine. Globally, there were more than 20,000 cases, up from about 8,000 a week ago and more since April.
Officials have been distancing themselves from city-wide lockdowns and limiting other measures — especially testing and travel — as they try to minimize the impact of their zero-COVID policies on people’s lives and the economy.
The latest shutdown has already turned frustration into anger with protests in the southern district of Guangzhou on Monday night.
Videos posted online showed crowds in the city’s Haizhu district, home to many textile workers, pushing through COVID-19 barriers and flooding the streets. Some can be seen arguing with workers in white hazmat suits who often patrol high-traffic areas.
In Haizhu, Guangdong, after a major riot, the authorities announced that the ban would be lifted. Resistance is the only way to survive, kneeling is the way to die! pic.twitter.com/g3xyLcfLwv
— Xie Wanjun Wanjun Xie (@wanjunxie) November 16, 2022
[Translation: In Haizhu, Guangdong, after a large-scale riot, the authorities announced the lifting of the lockdown. Resistance is the only way to survive. Kneeling is the way to death!]
Of China’s recent outbreaks, Guangzhou’s is the biggest, with daily new cases surpassing 5,000 for the first time and raising concerns that the lockdown could worsen.
Twitter has been blocked in China, and several hashtags related to the topic of “threats” in the region were removed from Twitter and Weibo on Tuesday morning.
Neither the Guangzhou city government nor Guangdong provincial police responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.
It was very rough out there last night. Everyone made sure their doors were locked,” said a Guangzhou resident who goes by the name Chet and lives about 0.6 kilometers from where the protests took place.
He told Reuters local social media groups and social media were flooded with videos and photos of the episode.
“When it happened near me I found it very disappointing. I didn’t sleep last night after watching the pictures,” said Chet, whose house was closed for 20 days.
Major cities including Chongqing and Zhengzhou have also been affected by the outbreak, nearly three years after the outbreak began in the central city of Wuhan.
Last week, China announced that testing should be more focused, instead of PCR testing, and indicated that some strict COVID policies will be relaxed, leading to the hope of a zero-COVID end.
President Xi Jinping has said that the procedure saves lives, especially for the elderly who have not yet been vaccinated.
Officials in Guangzhou, home to about 19 million people, say they are planning to build additional hospitals in addition to the six already built for those infected but asymptomatic.
In Shanghai, which has reported fewer cases, hotels were closed and the Shanghai Disney Resort has been closed since October 31 after a guest tested positive for the virus.
In the northwestern region of Xinjiang, the city of Ghulja is returning to life and work, after authorities lifted a three-month-long lockdown due to famine.