(Bloomberg) — China’s daily Covid infections climbed to an all-time high, surpassing the previous peak in April, as it battles an outbreak that has grown since the country took a more targeted approach to containing the virus.
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The country reported 29,754 new cases on Wednesday, more than the 28,973 infections reported in mid-April as Shanghai’s financial center was in the middle of a grueling two-month lockdown that left residents struggling to access food and medical services.
China’s official numbers report symptomatic and asymptomatic patients separately, which can lead to overstated numbers if people are reclassified after they develop symptoms. The Bloomberg News count counts all local cases regardless of symptoms and solves the problem of double counting.
Explore Bloomberg’s exclusive China COVID dashboard on Terminal
The recent surge is a critical moment for politicians, who must decide whether to tolerate any spread of the virus or fall back on strict Covid-01 restrictions to contain the outbreak at the expense of the economy. Major cities from Beijing to Chongqing and Guangzhou have largely ground to a halt as transmission chains have flooded apartments, office buildings and shopping malls.
Cities are once again expanding their testing efforts and building makeshift hospitals to contain the rising number of infected people. While no citywide lockdown has been announced, widespread restrictions are increasingly crippling economic activity, even as officials pledge to make their responses more focused and less disruptive.
Zhengzhou, home to Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone manufacturing site, will be largely closed for five days starting Friday. Residents in high-risk areas should stay at home, while others have been advised not to leave their homes or premises unless necessary. The order comes after hundreds of workers at the factory known as “iPhone City” clashed with security personnel as tensions rose after nearly a month of tight restrictions.
Read more: Violent protests at Apple’s main iPhone factory in China
Beijing has also stepped up restrictions as the number of cases rose to 1,611 on Wednesday. More residential complexes in the capital are temporarily closed and many office buildings, shops and entertainment venues are closed. In the Chaoyang district, where the infection is concentrated, schools have switched to online education and restaurants have stopped serving food.
Elsewhere, Disneyland in Shanghai will reopen on Friday, more than three weeks after it closed after an infected person was found at the theme park. 67 new Covid cases have been found in the financial center.
State media continued to comment on China’s COVID efforts. The latest in the People’s Daily said that emphasizing quality development is the country’s “top priority” while containing the epidemic. At the same time, the nation should avoid excessive restrictions, the Communist Party’s flagship publication said.
(Update to add details from the sixth paragraph.)
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