A handful of local Covid-19 cases in eastern parts of China have prompted Shanghai city to limit tourism activities and a nearby city to cut public transportation services, as China insists on zero tolerance against letting clusters spread.
Shanghai city detected three domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases with confirmed symptoms for Nov. 25, official data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed on Friday. The last local symptomatic infection in Shanghai was reported in August.
The new infections came just days after China contained its biggest outbreak caused by the Delta variant, suggesting the growing challenge in efforts to eliminate local clusters.
National health officials had said earlier this month that China's aim is not to remain at zero infections, but to make sure local clusters can be detected and contained as quickly as possible.
Shanghai has suspended travel agencies from organising tourism that involves trips between the city and other province-level regions.
The financial hub of 24.9 million residents has sealed up a few residential compounds deemed of higher infection risk, and two local hospitals have halted some face-to-face services to comply with Covid control.
Around 100 kilometres away, Suzhou -- which has a population of some 13 million people --- closed down tourist attractions and required residents to provide negative test results to leave the city.
Authorities in Beijing are on high alert for any potential outbreaks in the lead up to February's Winter Olympics, which will see an influx of foreign athletes, media and officials.
A university campus in neighbouring Hangzhou was put under lockdown after a staff member was discovered to be a close contact of a confirmed case, state media reported.
With the leadership determined to host a Covid-free Olympic Games, Beijing's Olympic Park has already been sealed off as part of the event's "closed-loop" bubble, state media reported.
Xuzhou city in the eastern Jiangsu province, about 9 hour- drive from Shanghai, reported one locally transmitted asymptomatic carrier for Nov. 25 who was a close contact of a Shanghai infection. China counts asymptomatic cases separately.
All schools were closed in the small satellite city of Xuzhou, which also stopped its two million residents from heading out of the city on bus services, after a close contact of one Shanghai patient was found there.
The city of 9.1 million population has suspended all its three subway lines, cut some citywide as well as long-distance bus services and closed a few entrances on highways linking it and surrounding areas.
It advised residents not to leave town for unnecessary reasons, and those who have to travel must show proof of a negative test result within 48 hours before departure.
Xuzhou demanded suspensions of larger face-to-face public activities including concerts, sports events and exhibitions. It also required all schools to halt their offline classes between Friday and Sunday, and asked universities to tighten management on students' requests to leave campus.
Hangzhou city in the eastern Zhejiang province also detected two local asymptomatic infection for Nov. 25, the NHC data showed.
As of Nov. 25, mainland China had reported 98,583 confirmed cases with symptoms, including both local ones and those arriving from abroad. The total death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.