Chinese megacity cancels flights and carries out massive tests after a case of Covid-19

China’s megacity of Guangzhou on Thursday canceled hundreds of flights and ordered 5.6 million people to be tested after detecting a suspected case of Covid-19, as the country grapples with an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Guangzhou, an important commercial and manufacturing hub in southern China, began testing almost a third of its 19 million inhabitants after detecting an “anomalous” result at the airport, where flights were canceled.

China is facing its worst outbreak of the coronavirus since the first wave in 2020, with dozens of deaths daily in the city of Shanghai and entire neighborhoods isolated in the capital Beijing, where a handful of cases have been detected.

Under its zero covid policy, China has imposed lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions to eradicate contagion.

The strategy has been in trouble with the contagious omicron variant that has passed through the rigid health controls.

The weeks of lockdown for nearly all of Shanghai’s 26 million people have severely damaged the Chinese economy.

Meanwhile, the technology center of Hangzhou, near Shanghai, ordered 9.4 million inhabitants of the city center, out of a total population of 12.2 million, to be tested every 48 hours to access public spaces and transport.

The goal is “for the virus to have nowhere to hide and settle,” the local government said in a statement, sparking fears of tighter restrictions in a city that is home to some of China’s biggest companies.

China reported 11,367 new infections on Thursday, a small number for a country of 1.4 billion people compared to most major economies.

However, it is enough to alarm the authorities of the country where the coronavirus was detected for the first time in 2019 and that until recently had practically not registered any major infections.

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