Xie Yiyi, 22, lost her job last Friday, making her one of millions of young people in China left unmoored and shaken by the virus. So that same day, heeding the advice of one of China’s top leaders, she decided to open a barbecue stall.
Street vendors are seen by many Chinese as embarrassing eyesores from the country’s past, when it was emerging from extreme poverty. In many Chinese cities, uniformed neighborhood rule enforcers called chengguan regularly evict and assault sidewalk sellers of fake jewelry, cheap clothes and spicy snacks.
But Li Keqiang, China’s premier, has publicly called for the jobless to ignite a “stall economy” to get the derailed economy back on track. In the process, he laid bare China’s diverging narratives after the epidemic. Is China an increasingly middle-class country, represented by the skyscrapers and tech campuses in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen? Or is much of it still poor, a country of roadside stalls in back alleys?
Here are some other developments from around the world:
China has also stepped up its effort to spread misinformation on Twitter, creating tens of thousands of fake accounts that discussed protests in Hong Kong and the Communist Party’s response to the virus, Twitter said on Thursday. The accounts posted messages promoting the Chinese government’s response to the outbreak, Twitter said.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, is experiencing a sustained increase in virus cases, about three weeks after millions of people began crisscrossing the country at the end of Ramadan. This week, Indonesia has recorded three consecutive days of about 1,000 new infections each day, with a total of 35,295 cases and 2,000 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.
Concerned about the economic effect on tourism and universities, the European Union is recommending that all member countries open their borders to one another by Monday. The European Commission, the executive branch of the bloc, is recommending a gradual opening to outsiders starting in July.
In Canada, commentary on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unruly mane has become a national sport. With barbershops and salons set to reopen in Ottawa on Friday, the question is: Will he get a haircut, or will he refrain in solidarity with Canadians in areas still under lockdown?
Local authorities in Beijing confirmed what appeared to be the first locally transmitted case in weeks, the state broadcaster CGTN reported on Thursday. The patient, a 52-year-old man, said he had not left the city for the last two weeks and had no contact with people from outside the city.
Reporting was contributed by Hannah Beech, Christina Caron, Michael Cooper, Nick Corasaniti, Jacey Fortin, Rick Gladstone, Michael Gold, Dana Goldstein, Denise Grady, Erica L. Green, Jenny Gross, Tiffany Hsu, Thomas Kaplan, Patrick Kingsley, Apoorva Mandavilli, Raphael Minder, Claire Moses, Tara Parker-Pope, Monika Pronczuk, Alan Rappeport, Katie Rogers, Simon Romero, Kaly Soto, Matt Stevens, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Ana Swanson, Eileen Sullivan, Katie Thomas, Laetitia Vancon, Daniel Victor, David Waldstein, Michael Wilson, Michael Wines, Li Yuan and Karen Zraick.