Beijing grapples with COVID surge, more restrictions

STORY: China is grappling with its highest tallies of coronavirus cases since April, raising questions about its zero-COVID policy that has frustrated the public and inflicted damage on the world's second-largest economy. New domestic cases rose to 8,824 on Wednesday, according to health authority data.

China has repeatedly said it would stick to the zero-COVID policy despite the growing outbreaks but pressure is growing on the central government to rein in over-zealous authorities in the provinces fearing blame for failing to contain the virus.

Thousands of government officials have been punished for various perceived failings in the nearly three years of the pandemic.