Crowds of people in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou crashed through barriers and marched down streets in a show of public resentment over China’s COVID-19 curbs. Videos widely shared on Twitter showed people in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district charging down streets and clashing with workers in white hazmat suits.
“It was quite tense out there last night. Everyone made sure their doors were locked,” a Guangzhou resident who uses the name Chet said Tuesday. “When it happened so close to me I found it really upsetting. I couldn’t sleep last night after watching those images.”
A breakout of infections at a manufacturing facility in Guangzhou had barred the surrounding community from leaving their homes. The whole country of China is dealing with outbreaks, reporting the most daily cases since April on Tuesday.
Among the latest COVID-19 outbreaks in China, Guangzhou’s is the largest. New daily infections of COVID-19 have topped 5,000 for the first time, fueling speculation that localized lockdowns could widen.
“The infection curve of Guangzhou is tracking the pace of Shanghai’s March-April outbreak, raising the question of whether a city-wide lockdown will be triggered,” JPMorgan analysts wrote. “It would become a testing point regarding the government’s determination to push for the relaxation of COVID control measure.”
The unrest in Guangzhou comes just days after Beijing announced it would try to reduce the impact of its “zero-COVID” strategy. China planned to ease curbs by shortening quarantine for travelers arriving from abroad, and several Chinese cities began cutting routine community COVID-19 testing.
“This will help making epidemic prevention and control more scientific and accurate, better protect people’s safety and health, and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,” China’s National Statistics Bureau spokesperson Fu Linghui said Tuesday. “With the effective implementation of these measures, normal production and living order will be better maintained, market demands and economic cycles will be resumed and unblocked.”