On Friday, officials reported 32,695 cases, including 1,860 in Beijing, although the majority of those were asymptomatic, according to the Associated Press. Friday’s total marks the second consecutive day of record-breaking cases, with 29,754 on Wednesday and 31,987 on Thursday.
China’s “zero COVID” policy has created a strain on the country’s economy, as well as its urban population, leading the World Health Organization to call on Chinese officials to change course. The Chinese Communist Party has rejected the calls but has urged regional officials to implement more targeted measures that are less disruptive.
Nonetheless, these local officials face pressure to implement extreme measures such as snap lockdowns of certain districts or buildings to meet the directive to suppress COVID-19.
Beijing, home to 21 million, saw widespread panic-buying this week as residents prepare for new measures. Residents have already been told not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, and delivery services report being overwhelmed.
Despite 92% of the Chinese population having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, fewer older citizens have gotten the shots.