CHINA has ordered several cities including Beijing back into lockdown, state media has reported.
The move comes after workers at the world’s biggest iPhone factory battled police over pay and lockdown conditions.
China has reported record high infections and in response has imposed restrictions as it continues to battle the virus, nearly three years after the pandemic emerged in Wuhan.
Schools, restaurants, gyms, beauty salons, and other facilities have been closed this week, says CGTN.
The capital now requires a negative PCR test result within 48 hours for those seeking to enter public places such as shopping malls, hotels and government buildings.
The streets of Chaoyang, the capital’s most populous district, are now all but empty.
Sanlitun, a high-end shopping area, was nearly silent on Thursday but for the whirring of the e-bikes of delivery riders ferrying meals for those working from home.
Several other cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing have tightened Covid restrictions as cases have climbed.
The six million residents of Zhengzhou are also in lockdown after workers at the huge iPhone factory battled hazmat suited security personnel.
Hundreds of workers took to the streets around the vast factory in Zhengzhou, confronting hazmat-clad personnel wielding batons in a rare display of public anger in China.
In the wake of the unrest, city authorities ordered mass testing and an effective lockdown for several districts.
City centre residents cannot leave the area unless they have a negative Covid test as well as permission from local authorities and have been told not to leave their homes “unless necessary”.
The restrictions will affect more than six million people but do not cover the iPhone factory, where workers have already been under Covid restrictions for weeks.
China’s ‘Zero Covid’ policy has been ruthlessly pursued by the country’s President Xi Jinping.
Many experts say the policy has left the country on the brink of disaster – potentially sowing the seeds for his own overthrow.
As the rest of the world returns to normal, China has placed 280 million people in Covid lockdown this year, turning the country into a “huge prison” and damaging the economy.
Botched attempts to produce its own vaccine and unwillingness to swallow its pride and import them, leaves draconian lockdowns as the only way to tackle Covid.
Covid Zero has pushed Chinese citizens to the limits and there have seen protests in cities throughout China, including Shanghai.
And in one extraordinary demonstration in Beijing just days before party Congress was due to open, a brave protester unveiled a banner on a motorway bridge denouncing Xi as a “thief” and “dictator”.