China's big cities tighten COVID controls again

STORY: China is stepping up measures to control new COVID outbreaks - and risking rising discontent as it does.

Beijing shut parks, malls and museums on Tuesday (November 22).

Tianjin and other big cities resumed mass testing for the virus.

Wuhan told residents only to travel between home and work.

Analysts at Nomura estimate that areas accounting for around a fifth of the country’s GDP are now under some kind of curbs.

The moves have renewed investor concern over China’s economy, sending global stocks and oil prices lower.

In Beijing, authorities have warned that the city faces its toughest test yet.

But one resident said the restrictions were no longer really about virus control:

“How do I say this? This is a political problem, or a problem that has to do with the political environment. It does not have much to do with medical prevention anymore. At least that is what I believe. Some time ago, China had already declared victory over this virus. We said we had won, now we can’t reopen. If this policy is considered the correct one, then we can’t possibly reverse it.”

Investors had hoped that China’s move to more targeted testing and control measures would herald reopening.

But in Beijing many businesses now fear they may not survive until next year.

Experts say a full reopening may require a massive vaccination booster effort.

Authorities say they are working on such measures, and plan to build more hospitals and fever clinics.