In the midst of the record-breaking heatwave and intense drought, the Chinese city of Chongqing has implemented widespread COVID testing in its central region
Millions in China’s Chongqing queue up for mandatory COVID tests amid record heat wave
In the midst of the record-breaking heatwave and intense drought, the Chinese city of Chongqing has implemented widespread COVID-19 testing in its central region, forcing millions of its citizens to endure hours-long exposure to the sun. On Wednesday, August 24, when the temperature in Chongqing rose beyond 40 degrees Celsius, officials ordered over 10 million residents in the city’s central metropolitan districts to undertake obligatory COVID-19 testing, CNN reported.
The southwestern megacity’s rigorous zero-COVID regulations to prevent an outbreak are considered to be the latest burden for citizens who are already suffering from a devastating heat wave, a severe drought, and raging wildfires. According to the report, nearly 40 COVID-19 cases were recorded in Chongqing on Wednesday, increasing the total number of infections since mid-August to 146.
Further, over 3,800 temporary testing stations were established throughout the central districts.
Chongqing’s citizens are facing extreme heat while having Covid tests
Indicating the situation, a resident of Chongqing said on China’s Twitter-like site, Weibo, “It’s 43 degrees, the people of Chongqing are already stretched to the limit”. Moreover, Chinese social media posts even showed locals forming huge lineups at the testing centres with some of them fainting due to the severe heat.
Besides this, Chinese authorities have changed the health codes on people’s cellphones to ‘orange’ to make sure inhabitants in the central districts follow the testing obligation. Once they successfully complete the COVID tests, their codes again become ‘green’. In China, where freedom of movement is constrained by a colour-code system enforced by the Chinese government to stop virus transmission, having a green code is essential to follow the normal course of life.
As per the officials, those who are not tested are barred attend events, meetings, or commercial operations or entering crowded, enclosed public places, the media outlet noted.
In the meantime, large regions of China are experiencing abnormally high temperatures and a protracted drought, which are impacting agriculture output and drinking water supplies. It is to note that much of southern China is suffering havoc due to a strong heat wave. In the southwest, mountain fires fueled by high temperatures have compelled 1,500 people to evacuate.
In addition to this, industries have been told to limit operations as hydroelectric facilities lower their output due to the drought, as per media reports. Crops have died due to the excessive heat and dryness, and rivers like the massive Yangtze have decreased, impeding cargo transportation.
Work teams are excavating tunnels to maintain water flow to one of the nation’s major rice-growing regions as China’s largest freshwater lake shrinks to only 25% of its normal size due to a severe drought, Associated Press reported. Irrigation canals to nearby farmlands had been shut off due to Poyang Lake’s severe fall in the landlocked province of Jiangxi in southeast of China.