Photo: A woman wearing a mask walks past a restaurant closed to dine-in customers in Beijing on Tuesday. (Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP) A woman wearing a mask walks past a restaurant closed to dine-in customers in Beijing on Tuesday. (Photo: Ng Han Guan/AP)

More than 253,000 coronavirus cases have been found in China in the past three weeks, and the daily average is rising, the government said Tuesday, adding to pressure on officials who are trying to reduce economic damage by easing controls that confine millions of people to their homes.

The ruling Communist Party promised earlier this month to reduce disruptions from its “Zero  Covid” strategy by making controls more flexible. But the latest wave of outbreaks is challenging that, prompting major cities including Beijing to close off populous districts, shut stores and offices, and order factories to isolate their workforces from outside contact. Those actions have fueled fears that a downturn in Chinese business activity might hurt already weak global trade.

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