The Zhengzhou government announced that it would begin a five-day lockdown to curb infections in the wake of the Foxconn protests. The city of 10.3 million reported 674 local infections on Thursday, down from 827 the day before.
Several other cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, have tightened restrictions as cases rise.
Schools in the capital have moved to online classes and those seeking to enter public spaces, including malls, hotels and government buildings, must have had a negative PCR test within the past 48 hours.
Thousands of temporary hospital rooms have been built to accommodate patients in the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, where nearly a third of the latest cases have been found.
Videos posted Wednesday night appear to show hundreds of Foxconn employees clashing with Covid officials and police officers in white suits. Officials can be seen backing away as workers dismantle the barriers and throw pieces at them.
He went on a hiring spree
Foxconn was left struggling to recruit new workers in October when it imposed a Covid-19 lockdown at its Zhengzhou factory, sending thousands of staff fleeing. To keep production going, the company began a recruitment process, promising higher wages and bonuses for new employees.
Adam Kucharski, co-director of the Center for Epidemic Preparedness and Response, said “big waves of Covid” are hitting the country.
“China now appears to be in a similar situation to most of Europe in late 2020…with the need to slow transmission in the short term while significantly increasing vaccine coverage as the main long-term exit strategy,” he said.
Health officials said only 85 percent of those over 60 had received two doses of domestic vaccines by mid-August, while China has yet to approve more effective mRNA vaccines for general use.