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Chinese authorities have axed a plan to kill all pets belonging to Covid-19 patients in a virus hotspot following an outcry from residents.
Langfang city officials ordered the ‘complete culling of indoor animals’ owned by Anci district residents who have tested positive for Covid in a district-wide directive on Tuesday.
But residents of the city, in China‘s northern Hubei province, were granted a reprieve on Wednesday after the directive was ‘withdrawn and implementation stopped’ following a backlash.
It was not immediately clear if any animals were culled before the directive was axed, but China News Service reported on Wednesday any killing had stopped by 5pm local time.
Several cases of Covid spreading from humans to pets including dogs and cats have been recorded but there has not been any confirmed cases of animals then passing the virus back to humans, despite anecdotal reports.
The directive was the latest in Beijing’s aggressive zero-Covid policy which has largely kept subsequent outbreaks under control through a combination of strict border controls, lengthy quarantines and targeted lockdowns.
Chinese authorities have axed a plan to kill all pets belonging to Covid-19 patients in a virus hotspot following an outcry from residents (pictured, mask-wearing dogs in Shanghai in February 2020)
City officials had ordered the ‘complete culling of indoor animals’ owned by residents who have tested positive for Covid in a district-wide directive (pictured) on Tuesday
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in mid-March that the country will ‘stick with’ its zero-Covid strategy, state TV reported.
The country where the virus emerged in late 2019 has largely kept subsequent outbreaks under control and has not reported any coronavirus-related deaths for over a year.
But the highly transmissible Omicron variant is posing a stern challenge to that strategy, prompting authorities to close off cities of millions of people.
Shanghai authorities on Thursday prepared to place the city’s western half in a Covid-19 but reopened its eastern half, in a sign hardened attitudes on zero-Covid have eased.
Residents of the city of Jilin will be able to move about freely starting Friday for the first time in more than three weeks, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing a notice issued by the city.
They will be required to wear masks and, when indoors, stay one meter (three feet) apart. Public gatherings in parks and squares are prohibited.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (pictured) said in mid-March that the country will ‘stick with’ its zero-Covid strategy, state TV reported
2020: Staff members line up at attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station in China at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic
2022: Hazmat-wearing officials returned to the streets on a scale not seen since the start of the pandemic after China reported 5,280 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and plunged nearly thirty million people back into a virus lockdown as Beijing pursues its zero-Covid policy
The spread of Covid-19 has been brought under control in Jilin city but not in the rest of Jilin province, officials said at a news conference, according to CCTV.
Some progress has been made in Changchun, the provincial capital and an auto manufacturing hub that has been locked down since March 11.
China has been battling its largest Covid-19 outbreak since the initial one in early 2020 that devastated the city of Wuhan and other parts of Hubei province.
By far, most of the cases have been in Jilin province, which borders North Korea in China’s industrial northeast.
Smaller outbreaks have popped up across the country, including Shanghai, the financial capital and China’s largest city with 26 million people.
The two-phase lockdown of Shanghai, being carried out over eight days, has shaken global markets worried about the possible economic impact.
Smaller outbreaks have popped up across the country, including Shanghai, the financial capital and China’s largest city with 26 million people (pictured, a resident takes a test in Minhang district of Shanghai on March 30)
People wait in line in the grocery shop in Puxi, western Shanghai, ahead of a four-day lockdown in which residents are not allowed to leave their neighborhoods or housing compounds
China’s manufacturing activity fell to a five-month low in March, a monthly survey showed Thursday, as lockdowns and other restrictions forced factories to suspend production.
Pudong, the half of Shanghai on the east side of the Huangpu River, was to reopen at 5am Friday after a four-day lockdown during which residents were tested for the coronavirus and isolated if the result was positive.
A lockdown of Puxi on the west side of the river was starting at 3am.
About 16 million people will be tested in Puxi. Residents are not allowed to leave their neighborhoods or housing compounds during the four-day lockdown, with groceries or meals delivered to their complexes.
China on Thursday reported 8,559 new cases in the previous 24-hour period, of which 6,720 had no symptoms.
The proportion of asymptomatic cases has been higher than in previous outbreaks, particularly in Shanghai. About 100 of the new cases were imported ones among people who had recently arrived from abroad.