1 of 4 | Shanghai, China, was put on lockdown back in May amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The strict measures were put in place for at least six consecutive weeks. File Photos by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
Oct. 11 (UPI) -- China is ramping up its strict "zero-COVID" policies -- including travel bans, business lockdowns and city-wide quarantines -- as new virus cases surge throughout the country following a week-long national holiday.
The situation has added pressure on the ruling Communist Party which is planning its 20th annual National Congress in Beijing on Oct. 16, when Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to be installed for what will be his third 5-year term.
This week's COVID-19 restrictions were in response to a near tripling of new daily COVID-19 cases in a matter of a week.
The health emergency has forced many local officials throughout the country to tighten the already unrelenting lockdown policies, which have sunk the country's GDP by nearly 5% since the start of the month, according to CNBC.
Some of the lockdowns have been in place for just about the entire year, with infections, transmissions and deaths climbing over the spring and summer.
By Tuesday, the no-nonsense policies to curb the spread were evident in just about every corner of the country.
Shanxi province in the northern part of the country was the first to go into lockdown this week after a positive virus test in Fenyang city on Monday.
More than 2,000 new cases have been reported in the past week in Hohhot, in Inner Mongolia, where cases are reportedly growing by several hundred per day.
A similar outbreak in Xinjiang, a popular tourist spot in southern Yunnan province, has forced the city into lockdown since Oct. 4, with no one allowed to enter or leave the region until further notice.
Another lockdown was put in place two days later in the city of Haikou in Hainan province where analysts looked at the average rate of infections over seven days and found that COVID-19 cases had doubled during the first week of October.
Elsewhere, three popular entertainment districts in downtown Shanghai were forced to shutter Monday, while many schools across central China have also canceled classes for the foreseeable future.
On Monday, nearly two dozen provincial regions across mainland China were reporting slightly more than 400 new symptomatic infections, while 2,000 more were said to be infected with the virus but not showing any symptoms.
Economists at Japanese financial holding firm Nomura issued a report this week analyzing the outbreak and its immediate impact on the Chinese economy.
Nomura's chief economist, Ting Lu, noted that "China's overall COVID situation appears to have deteriorated materially" following a week-long National Day holiday that ended last Friday, according to CNBC.
Recent government data showed consumer confidence in China plunged 26% compared to this time last year as people were cutting travel and holiday spending
People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has published a series of editorials hailing the COVID restrictions as a strategic move that will stabilize the economy and minimize casualties amid a widening health emergency.