China shut down some businesses and public transportation options Wednesday in Wuhan, the central city where the global COVID-19 pandemic began, in a snap reaction to new infections.
The city’s Jiangxia District, home to more than 900,000 residents, will ban large gatherings; close restaurants, public entertainment venues and farm markets; and suspend some bus and subway services for three days, according to Reuters.
The closures are based on two infections that were discovered during regular screening and two more cases in the close contacts of the infected persons.
Authorities told people not to leave the area and urged travelers not to enter the restricted zone.
Health authorities first detected the virus that causes COVID-19 in Wuhan in late 2019. Officials downplayed the situation at first, but the medical impact was clear. The virus slipped into other nations, causing widespread devastation and a series of societal restrictions in most countries.
The U.S. and other countries have pivoted back to normal activities while relying on vaccines and treatments to keep the disease in check.
China, however, is relying on a draconian “zero COVID” policy that relies on lockdowns and mass testing to box out the virus.
Beijing’s tough approach has sparked a public outcry in cities across China. People have been denied medical services or had trouble accessing food during lockdowns.
Public health experts say the approach might be unsustainable as a scientific matter as the population acquires insufficient immunity from a lack of natural infection and domestic vaccines that aren’t as effective as ones used in the West.