10-M Chinese in Chongqing Suffer From Extreme Heat, Mandatory COVID Tests
The Chinese metropolis of Chongqing has rolled out mass COVID testing in its central area amid a record heat wave, leaving millions of residents standing under the sun for hours as they struggle with extreme temperatures and power shortages, Nectar Gan reported for CNN.
Photo Insert: The Chongqing cityscape
Stringent zero-COVID measures enacted by the southwestern mega-city to contain an emerging outbreak are the latest hardship for residents already reeling from a crippling heat wave, a severe drought, and blazing wildfires.
Chongqing reported 40 COVID-19 infections Wednesday, bringing the total to 146 cases since mid-August.
Authorities ordered more than 10 million people in the city's central urban districts to undergo mandatory COVID tests on Wednesday when the highest temperature in Chongqing soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit.) More than 3,800 temporary testing sites were set up across the central districts.
Photos on Chinese social media show residents forming long queues at the sites, with some passing out in the intense heat.
The Meteorological Administration said Tuesday it had dispatched a high-performance aircraft to Chongqing to help conduct cloud seeding, according to state-run CCTV.
Weather authorities in Chongqing said the aircraft would coordinate with 107 anti-aircraft guns and 96 rockets on the ground to accurately create precipitation, CCTV reported, Simone McCarthy also reported for CNN.
China's heat wave has also brought surging demand for air-conditioning and reductions in hydropower capacity due to droughts that have hit the country's commercially critical Yangtze River and connected waterways.
This week, Sichuan province, neighboring Chongqing, extended temporary power outages at factories in 19 of the region's 21 cities. The power cuts will run until at least Thursday, in a move the local government said will ensure residential power supplies.
Last week, the province's capital Chengdu began dimming lights in subway stations to save electricity.
On Tuesday, Chinese authorities including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Meteorological Administration jointly issued an emergency notice, requiring local authorities to reduce the impact of drought and high temperatures on the country's autumn grain production.