Chinese mega city Chengdu extends lockdown of most districts as COVID spreads

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Chengdu, capital of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, extended the lockdown of most of its districts on Thursday, hoping to stem further transmission of COVID-19 cases in the city of 21.2 million.

The local government reported 116 new local cases, up from 121 a day ago.

Of the cases reported, 57 were symptomatic and 59 were asymptomatic.

The lockdown was expected to be lifted on Wednesday, but local government officials took extreme caution, saying “there are still risks of social spread in some areas,” according to Chengdu authorities.

Residents under lockdown will be tested for the virus everyday, Chengdu authorities said late on Wednesday, without giving a date on when the lockdown would be lifted.

Residents of a handful of districts that were released from a full lockdown will undergo mass testing on September 9 and September 11.

The mega city locked down last week as cases rose across several districts, allowing authorities to complete another round of mass testing.

About 90% of flights at Chengdu’s Shuangliu Airport were cancelled last Monday.

China this year has been battling to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant, imposing various degrees of lockdown on cities to stop its spread.

Shanghai, locked down for two months in April and May, was one of the more prominent cities that were affected by China’s so-called “dynamic zero-COVID policy”, where infections are to be stamped out when they emerge.