China has confined nearly 1,500 university students to their dormitories and hotels following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the north-western city of Dalian.
The order was issued on Sunday after several dozen cases were reported at Zhuanghe University City, and hundreds of students were transferred to hotels for observation.
The lockdown is the latest example of China’s zero-tolerance approach to the outbreak, which has brought considerable disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods.
Quarantines, obligatory testing and travel restrictions have become the new normal for much of the population.
The country’s vaccination rate is among the world’s highest and authorities are beginning to administer booster jabs as winter descends.
While those measures have met little open resistance, the recent killing of a quarantined person’s pet dog by health workers brought a wave of complaints online.
The incident in the central city of Shangrao prompted local authorities to issue a statement saying the pet owner and health workers had “reached an understanding”.
“Pets are people’s spiritual partners and should not be harmed under the pretext of fighting the pandemic,” it said in a statement. “If you bring the hand of doom down on an innocent life without the slightest ability to defend itself, then how can you even talk about humanitarianism?”
Among other new measures, from Wednesday, Beijing will require all people arriving from other parts of the country by plane, train, bus or car to produce a negative virus test taken over the previous 48 hours.
Despite isolated cases in various parts of the country, China has been able to suppress major outbreaks over the past year, with its total number of reported cases standing at 98,315 with 4,636 deaths.
On Monday, the Chinese national health commission announced 32 new cases of local transmission over the previous 24 hours, 25 of them in Dalian.