In China, a city of over a million people was locked down again on Friday due to a corona outbreak.

The disease control authority of the provincial capital Changchun in the north-east of the country announced that the nine million inhabitants are only allowed to leave their homes for PCR tests.

One person per household is allowed to buy groceries every two days.

Most businesses and shops as well as all schools have been closed.

Buses, taxis and subways stopped operating.

Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

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Excluded from the restrictions are medical, disease control and security personnel as well as companies that ensure the nutrition of the population and "centrally important companies that are designated by the city".

The communication from the epidemic control authority also said that all residents “without exception” should be tested for the corona virus three times in a row.

On Friday, 23 new infections were reported for Changchun, the capital of Jilin province.

In the past few days, there have been new outbreaks in different parts of China.

More than a thousand new infections were reported across the country on Friday.

In an international comparison, that's not much.

But in China, which remains committed to a zero-Covid strategy, talk is of the worst situation since the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan more than two years ago.

The metropolis of Shanghai is also affected, where all schools were switched to online lessons on Friday.

China's scientists have been discussing ways out of the zero-Covid strategy for some time, but a consistent opening to the outside world is not expected before spring 2023.

Travelers to China currently have to spend three weeks in hotel quarantine.

The Chinese population is becoming increasingly tired of some corona measures, also because of the growing economic costs, which are hitting the poorer parts of the population particularly hard.

Premier Li Keqiang dodged a question on whether there was a timetable for an opening in a press conference on Friday.

He promised "more scientific and targeted" measures.

In rural areas in particular, the Chinese health system would be overwhelmed if the number of seriously ill corona patients increased rapidly.

The situation is even more serious in Hong Kong, where tens of thousands of new infections have been reported in recent weeks, which are reported separately in the national statistics due to the city's status as a special administrative region.

Measured by the number of inhabitants, the deaths among corona patients had recently risen to the highest value in the world.

The main reason for this is the comparatively low vaccination rate among older Hong Kongers.

Many of them had refused vaccination because they feared side effects, mistrusted the government or because they saw no need to do so due to the low number of corona cases until recently.