For more than a year, residents living in a remote border town have been China’s foot soldiers in the battle against the coronavirus, enduring lockdown after lockdown to shield the rest of the country from contagion.

Mothers in Ruili, a jewelry-trading center on China’s border with Myanmar, post despairingly about their toddlers being numb to regular swab tests—one said her 2-year-old has gotten 100 in his lifetime. Others post about spending months on end in isolation, despite test after test coming back negative. Some restaurants have been closed for more than half a year.

As the Delta variant puts China through one of its biggest Covid-19 outbreaks since it first closed off Wuhan in early 2020, new lockdowns and other strict controls are rippling across the country. Infections have been spreading to more provinces, though nationwide reported case numbers remain below 100 a day so far.


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