The Asian giant is taking a firm approach to the virus, with major screening campaigns, mandatory quarantines and confinements as soon as a few cases appear.

The renewed epidemic in Anhui comes at a time when the Chinese economy is slowly recovering from the containment of Shanghai, lifted in early July after several months.

Two townships in the province, Sixian and Lingbi, have announced lockdowns affecting more than 1.7 million people. They can only leave their homes to get tested.

Public broadcaster CCTV broadcast footage of empty streets in Sixian over the weekend, with residents queuing to take their sixth PCR test in days.

The Health Ministry on Monday reported 287 new positive cases for Anhui, bringing the total to more than 1,000 for the province in recent days.

Provincial Governor Wang Qingxian urged authorities to “implement rapid testing” as well as quarantine and report cases as soon as possible.

The neighboring province of Jiangsu also reported 56 new cases in four cities on Monday.

The number of cases remains very low in China compared to the vast majority of other countries.

But the authorities intend to limit the circulation of the virus as much as possible because of the limited medical resources in certain places and the relatively low rate of vaccination among the elderly.

However, this strategy weighs heavily on the economy of the Asian giant.

The only notable relaxation taken in recent weeks by the authorities: the quarantine on arrival in China is now reduced to 10 days, against at least 21 initially.