More than 31,000 new cases have been reported nationwide, the largest increase since the early days of the pandemic.

A record wave of COVID-19 infections has led to further restrictions on the people of China.

Beijing’s health commission on Thursday reported more than 31,000 new cases nationwide in the past 24 hours — the biggest increase in cases since the chaos of the pandemic’s early days.

On Wednesday, the number of cases was 31,444 – a figure that broke a record on April 13 when the commercial center of Shanghai, home to 25 million people, was put on lockdown for two months.

China continues to follow a strict zero-COVID-19 strategy of lockdowns, daily mass testing, strict monitoring, contact tracing and enforced quarantine.

Nevertheless, the number of new infections has risen sharply, especially in recent weeks, lead to increasing levels of disability.

The Chinese government had recently relaxed some COVID-19 rules, including reducing the length of the quarantine period required when entering China from 10 to 8 days.

New measures have recently been imposed in almost all major cities, including the capital, where schools, kindergartens and shops are closed and residents have been asked to stay at home if possible.

Residential complexes are also increasingly being completely closed off. In the particularly hard-hit southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou, which has seen violent protests against the COVID-19 measures, several districts have been put under complete lockdown.

Shanghai, meanwhile, announced that travelers coming to the city will not be allowed to go to restaurants or shops for five days.

The curbs are taking a toll on both residents and the output of factories, including the world’s largest iPhone factory, which is rocked by clashes between workers and security personnel in a rare expression of dissent.

“How many people have the savings to support them when things are constantly stagnant?” asked a 40-year-old man from Beijing, nicknamed Wang, who is a manager at a foreign company. “And even if you have money to stay home every day, that’s not real life.”

The streets of Chaoyang, the capital’s most populous district, have become increasingly empty this week.

Sanlitun, an upscale shopping district, was almost silent on Thursday, except for the hum of the e-bikes of delivery drivers bringing meals to home workers.

China’s economy is suffering from the zero-COVID approach, a signature policy of President Xi Jinping, even as much of the world tries to coexist with the virus, saying it is necessary to save and prevent lives that the medical system is being conned.

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