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World in Photos: In China, covid lockdown redux — 21 million people have been told to stay home

Chengdu joins the list of megacities to experience a zero-covid shutdown.

It has happened again. A huge metropolis in China has been shut down because of a number of covid cases that would hardly raise an eyebrow in an American city.

The southern city of Chengdu reported 157 new cases Wednesday and more than 700 over the past week. In most cities outside China, 700 cases wouldn’t be classified as an outbreak, let alone in a metropolis of 21 million people. But China is different, as we have seen so many times over the past two years, and this week those 21 million people were put on lockdown. Effective at 6 p.m. Thursday, these were the rules in Chengdu: You can leave your house for mandated covid tests; each household can send one person (with a negative test) out for groceries once per day; otherwise special permissions would be required to leave home. As of today, only supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals are allowed to open.

These photos are divided between the pre-lockdown mad rush to stores and food markets — and then the all-too-familiar scenes of a major city gone quiet. It’s hard for the rest of the world to imagine; in China, it’s all too easy.

And so once again — as was the case for the two-month lockdown in Shanghai cities, zero-covid will bring economic pain, at a time when — as Grid has reported — China faces economic headwinds on multiple fronts.

Officials in Chengdu gave no indication of how long the lockdown might last.

A health worker takes a swab sample from a man for covid testing in Chengdu, China, on Thursday.
Citizens line up for covid testing in Chengdu on Friday.
A health worker takes a swab sample from a resident for covid testing in Chengdu on Thursday.
A courier delivers food supplies to a resident in a gated community in Chengdu on Thursday.
Residents shop at a wet market in Chengdu on Thursday.
People line up to buy vegetables to prepare for the covid-19 lockdown on Thursday in Chengdu.
Shoppers buy food in Chengdu on Thursday to prepare for the lockdown.
Police officers check motorcyclists' information on a road in Chengdu on Thursday.
A police officer checks a driver's coronavirus test results in Chengdu on Thursday.
An empty road in Chengdu during the lockdown on Friday.
Roads are nearly empty in Chengdu on Thursday.
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