Shenzhen Schools Move Online, Mass Testing Crashes Health Code in Guangzhou

By Lars James Hamer, August 31, 2022

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A rise in infections in both Guanghou and Shenzhen has led to school closures, mass testing and a return to the 1980s. 



A man paints, "Will the world get better?" on a wall, someone's reply of "Yes" is crossed out and replaced with "Wait for an announcement." Image via Weibo

According to the Shenzhen Epidemic Prevention and Control news conference, 37 positive cases of COVID-19 were detected in Shenzhen yesterday (August 30).

Twenty of the cases were symptomatic and 17 were asymptomatic. 

The majority of infections in Shenzhen are of the Omicron BA.5 strain, which is harder to detect and has a higher rate of transmission and infection than other variants.

Twenty-three of said cases were found while in isolation, six in key areas, four via community testing and four from active consultation. 

Futian district, the worst affected area, had 23 infections, Longgang and Luohu districts both confirmed five cases and there were two in both Nanshan and Longhua districts. 

Due to the current pandemic situation, primary and middle schools across the city have been ordered to switch to online classes. 

The start of the academic year for kindergartens will be delayed until further notice. 

Students, parents and staff will be informed when they can return to school in due course. 

The city has also urged anyone who visited Huaxing Dance Art Center in Futian district from August 26 to 30 to report to local health authorities and undergo regular nucleic acid tests. 

As of press time, Futian and Luohu are the only two districts to close down businesses and advise residents to work from home.

The restrictions are set to be lifted at midnight on September 1, assuming the spread of the virus is under control. 

Despite two days of increasing infection numbers, the city is yet to confirm whether the lockdown will continue. 



Thousands of commuters have to cross Haizhu Bridge by foot due to the temporary closure of some metro stations. Image via WeChat

On August 30, Guangzhou reported seven new cases of COVID-19.

Two of the positive cases were found during community testing and the remaining five infected people were in close contact with the original two infections. 

According to analyses conducted by the city’s health authorities, “the current epidemic prevention and control situation in Guangzhou is complex and severe.”

The first case in Guangzhou was a 66-year-old man and the second infection was his wife’s sister, a 66-year-old woman. 

The man’s wife was later confirmed to be the third case of infection. 

They all live together on Longfeng Street, Haizhu district. 

A woman, aged 36 and her son, aged three, are the 66-year-old man’s daughter and grandson and are the fourth and fifth infections. 

Infection number six is a 63-year-old woman but her details have not been reported. 

Another woman, aged 62, who also lives in Haizhu, contracted the virus after she visited the same swimming pool as the man’s wife. 

Several metro stations in Guangzhou temporarily ceased operation today in order to track the origin of the virus and stop its spread.

This meant a large number of morning commuters had to walk across Haizhu Bridge, leading to images circulating on WeChat where Guangzhou looked like it did in the 1980s, when most people could only cross the bridge on foot or on bikes.


Guangzhou in the late 80s/early 90s compared to today, when thousands of commuters had to cross the bridge due to a lack of public transport. Image via @懒懒一只猪

Due to the large number of residents in Guangzhou suddenly rushing to get tested, the city’s health code temporarily broke down due to the volume of users. 


Pandemic prevention and control staff in Guangzhou hold up a sign saying that the city's health code system has crashed

[Cover image via NIAID-RML]

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