China just reported a record high day of coronavirus cases after easing its COVID-free policy

China has recorded a record daily number of COVID-19 infections despite the country’s continuous efforts to contain and eradicate the virus.

The National Health Commission reported 31,444 new cases of coronavirus in the country on Thursday, the highest number since the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019.

The latest spike is fueling outbreaks in several cities, including Beijing and Guangzhou, and follows a slight easing of the government’s no-spread coronavirus policy several weeks ago. The policy, which relied on contact tracing, mass testing and lockdowns, has seen some restrictions eased recently. For example, quarantine periods have dropped from 10 days to eight, and at least eight cities including Shanghai have reduced requirements for mass testing.

But with the rise in coronavirus cases this week, China has taken steps to control the spread of the virus. Beijing city officials announced Thursday that they are converting the exhibition center into a makeshift hospital to quarantine and treat COVID patients; Earlier this week, schools in many areas of the city switched classes online.

The latest wave of COVID in China arrived two days after workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou city clashed with police over lost wages and COVID-related concerns about living conditions. It also comes a week after some residents in Guangzhou, a southern manufacturing hub, revolted against an extended lockdown by removing barriers intended to restrict residents to their homes and to the streets.


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