Urban China and COVID-19: How Chinese Cities Responded to the Pandemic

This essay appears in Vol. 74, No. 1, "Global Urbanization: Nations, Cities, and Communities in Transformation" (Fall/Winter 2021).

By Xuefei Ren

This essay examines three major strategies used by city governments in China to contain COVID-19—lockdowns, the grid governance system, and digital surveillance. Although some of these measures have also been used in other countries, the ways in which they are implemented in China spotlight the territorial logic of urban governance in the country. The enforcement of these measures strictly trails administrative jurisdictions, and largely depends on the preexisting territorial institutions and authorities, instead of law enforcement units. China’s experience offers several lessons for other countries. It demonstrates the importance of empowering municipal institutions and coordinating central-local responses, but also the consequence of disengaging citizens and encroaching citizen rights.

Cities across the globe have been affected by COVID-19.[1] Their large populations and interconnectivity make them vulnerable to outbreaks of infectious diseases.[2] But the pandemic’s impact on cities has varied widely. Some cities have quickly recovered, while others still struggle with record-level infections more than a year into the pandemic.[3] China’s cities have fared comparatively well. As early as April 2020, Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter, declared that it had wiped out all infections, and over the next three months, most other Chinese cities had lifted travel restrictions and resumed economic activity. What kind of measures did municipal governments in China mobilize to control the outbreak? How have these measures been enforced? And given the authoritarian nature of China’s political regime, can democracies draw any meaningful lessons from China’s local responses?

China’s success at containing the pandemic has been attributed to a broad range of strategies. Recent studies cite, for instance, China’s distinctive style of crisis management, featuring the top-down command chain led by the Communist Party, as well as effective mobilization of resources, and a high degree of buy-in from the public to comply with the government’s orders.[4] Other studies highlight China’s resort to its traditional policy toolkit during times of crisis, such as punishing local officials who performed poorly.[5] Yet, others identify additional factors, including the country’s manufacturing capacity for producing critical medical supplies, the mobilization of state-owned enterprises, public trust in government, and lessons learned from the past experience combatting SARS.[6]

This essay proposes a different perspective to examine China’s responses to the pandemic by focusing on municipal governments. I contend that the core measures implemented by municipal governments— lockdowns, a grid-governance system, and digital surveillance—reflect a distinctive territorial approach to urban governance. These measures are territorial in that they target territorial jurisdictions, and their enforcement depends on territorial authorities and institutions.[7] Although other countries have used some versions of these tactics, such as lockdowns and digital surveillance, their implementation does not strictly trail administrative jurisdictions, such as municipal boundaries, and is not dependent solely on local territorial authorities.

This essay mines the experiences of local governments in China between January 2020 and May 2021. I’ve selected a range of cities of different regions, sizes, and levels of economic development. These include Wuhan and several other hotspots, such as Tonghua (Jilin province), Shijiazhuang and Langfang (Hebei province), and Harbin (Heilongjiang province). I also examine Shanghai, which has adopted a more flexible approach to containing COVID-19 that does not rely on strict lockdowns. These examples showcase the great variation in local governments’ responses to COVID-19 and challenge the common assumption that China’s pandemic strategy has been uniform across the country.

The Governing Systems of Chinese Cities

The response of Chinese cities to COVID-19 needs to be understood in the larger context of the Chinese political system, which features both a devolution of the national government’s authority to local governments and a consolidation of power at the center. Decentralization, taking place over the last four decades, has empowered municipal governments. And the concentration of authority and resources in Beijing—which has surged under Xi Jinping’s rule since 2013—has allowed the party to extend its reach down to the level of cities and neighborhoods. Both features have enabled Chinese cities to act decisively in the pandemic’s early phases.

China’s fight against COVID-19 has been spearheaded by strong municipal institutions. Unlike Western metropolitan regions typified by fragmented governing structures, most Chinese cities have a consolidated municipal government. Wuhan’s handling of the outbreak illustrates the benefits of a single metropolitan authority. A megacity in central China, Wuhan, is home to 20 million people across an area of over 7,000 square kilometers. Nicknamed the “Chicago of China,” Wuhan has a governing structure that bears no resemblance to Chicago. Chicago’s metropolitan region has more than 1,500 local governments[8]; Wuhan is governed by just a single authority. Its municipal government oversees seven urban districts and six rural districts, each headed by a district government. District governments in China are not independent local governments. Instead, they are headed by district leaders appointed by the municipal government and report directly to the mayor. The unified nature of the metropolitan authority minimized fragmentation across localities and enhanced Wuhan’s responses to the pandemic. After the initial delay and cover-up in January 2020, the Wuhan municipal government quickly leaped into action, enforcing the strictest lockdown in the country for two and a half months.[9]

Wuhan’s quick recovery also benefited from the strong intervention of the central government in Beijing. Within weeks of the outbreak, the central government took control. First, in January 2020, it ordered Wuhan to be locked down. It then mobilized resources across the country to help the city, dispatching, for instance, thousands of doctors and military medics to provide needed assistance. To supervise Hubei province, the central government formed the National Steering Group for COVID-19 Prevention and Control. The Steering Group, which was headed by the Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, included senior officials of major ministries to smooth interdepartmental coordination and fast-track decision-making.[10] The central government also used the cadre evaluation system to incentivize local officials. Local officials and civil servants signed responsibility statements (zeren shu) to ensure that their jurisdictions had no infections. Officials with strong performance were quickly promoted, while those who performed poorly were removed from their posts.[11] By February 2021, more than 5,000 officials had been removed due to their poor performance over COVID-19 containment.[12] The central government authorized the lockdown and mobilized resources across the country to help Wuhan, such as dispatching thousands of doctors and military medics to the city. Under the single-party rule, the central government has outright authority over provinces and cities by controlling personnel appointments for the latter two. The central government took control of Wuhan from the early stage. In January 2020, it formed the National Steering Group for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to supervise Hubei province. The Steering Group was headed by the Vice Premier and included senior officials of major ministries to smooth interdepartmental coordination and fast-track decision making.[13] The central government used the cadre evaluation system to incentivize local officials. Local officials and civil servants signed responsibility statements (zeren shu) to ensure zero infection within their jurisdictions. Officials with strong performance were quickly promoted, while those who performed poorly were removed from their posts. By February 2021, more than 5,000 officials had been removed due to their poor performance over COVID-19 containment.

COVID-19 Strategies of Chinese Cities

The containment of COVID-19 in Chinese cities has depended on three core strategies—lockdowns, neighborhood surveillance, and municipal health codes. These COVID-19 measures bear the hallmarks of China’s territorial approach to urban governance, as they target specific territorial jurisdictions and are implemented by local officials who face pressure from upper-level governments to eliminate the virus at any cost. These measures have historical resonance in China. At the national level, for instance, China has relied on its hukou system to control the movement of its population on a large scale.[14] At the local level, many urban neighborhoods—even before the pandemic— have used some variant of a community lockdown, such as closing off gated residential compounds to quell social unrest.[15] Municipal health codes—smart phone apps for contact tracing—are hardly new either. They run on existing platforms such as WeChat, a popular social media and online payment app, which has aided the government and large corporations to collect personal data. During the pandemic, China channeled its experience with these territorial forms of urban governance to managing COVID-19 outbreaks.


Lockdown is the most restrictive territorial measure of COVID-19 containment used by local governments in China. The first Chinese city to impose a lockdown was Wuhan. On January 23, 2020, the city government shut down airports, train stations, and expressways. Within the city, public transportation was suspended, and residential neighborhoods (xiaoqu) locked their gates. Wuhan’s lockdown was stringent, prohibiting residents from leaving their apartments except for essential activities. It created a logistical nightmare, at least in the initial weeks. Food prices in the city spiked, COVID-19 patients had trouble getting to hospitals, and hospitals could not restock medical supplies.[16] But the harsh measure did help slow down the transmission of the virus and expedite the city’s recovery. Wuhan lifted its lockdown 76 days later, on 8 April 2020, after no new local infections had been reported.

China’s lockdowns reflect the strength of the country’s territorial institutions. The lockdowns track not the geography of virus transmission but rather the boundaries of administrative jurisdictions, such as Street Offices (jiedao), districts (qu), or entire cities (shi). Such lockdowns can be blunt. In Wuhan and many other cities, local governments extended the lockdown far beyond the cluster of infections. Even in places with few infections, local officials sealed off entire cities. For example, Tong’An county in Langfang city (Hebei province) reported one COVID-19 case on January 11, 2021, and the next day the city government ordered a city-wide lockdown, asking its 5 million residents to stay home for a week while the government tested every resident.[17] In Tonghua city in Jilin province, the discovery of a small cluster of new infections in one district in January 2021 spurred the mayor to shut down the whole city, forbidding its 400,000 residents from leaving their apartments.[18]

Why would some local officials resort to lockdowns to curtail small-scale outbreaks? Part of the answer relates to China’s cadre evaluation system. Some local officials, knowing that their career prospects might turn upon their response to the pandemic, imposed harsh lockdowns.[19] Local officials are less concerned with the costs and disruptions entailed by lockdowns than preserving their reputations and avoiding blame and negative publicity. For local officials anxious about their careers, lockdown was as much about self-protection as stopping the transmission of the virus. The abuse of lockdowns became so severe in some regions that the central government had to intervene. In January 2021, the central government criticized outright lockdowns as a “lazy approach” (lanzheng) to “avoid responsibilities” (tuize), and it discouraged local authorities from using them to contain small outbreaks. More targeted measures (jingzhun hua guanli) were needed, the central government exhorted, so as not to disrupt the economy and everyday life.[20]

The enforcement of lockdowns within China was uneven. The less developed cities in the north generally enforced lockdowns strictly, while the more developed cities in the south largely experimented with less disruptive methods. Flexible approaches such as targeted contact tracing required better coordination across municipal bureaucracies, hospitals, and neighborhood committees, and presented daunting challenges for cities in the slow-growth regions in the north. Less capable of coordinating fast and targeted contact tracing, local officials in the northern provinces used total lockdown and mass testing to eliminate infections. For example, when a new wave of infections broke out in Spring 2021, the hotspot cities and towns in the north (such as Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning) hastily ordered sweeping lockdowns, but southern cities did not, even though some reported similar numbers of new infections. The Shanghai city government, for example, did not shut down even one residential neighborhood. Upon the advice of public health experts, it quickly quarantined the infected and tracked down their contacts. Dr. Zhang Wenhong, the head of Shanghai’s COVID-19 response team, described Shanghai’s strategy as “trying to catch mice in a china store”—meaning that the response had to be swift and targeted, without disturbing residents (breaking the china).[21] Shanghai’s nimbler strategy garnered praise on Chinese social media, which ridiculed the blunt lockdown measures taken in the northern cities.[22]

The Grid Governance System

In urban neighborhoods, one important measure to enforce stay-at-home orders has been the mobilization of the grid governance system (wangge hua guanli).[23] Introduced by local governments in selected cities in the mid-2000s, the grid governance system is a neighborhood-level institution that aims to resolve community conflicts, gather information from residents, and deepen the party’s reach in urban neighborhoods.[24] Under this system, every city is divided through GIS mapping into thousands of small grids, each containing 300 to 600 households across a few square kilometers. For each grid, the city government assigns a large number of managers to oversee community affairs, including, for example, district officials, members of Street Offices, Resident Committees, Homeowners Associations, as well as communist party members working in government agencies, local universities, and state-owned enterprises. Grid managers were state agents mobilized during pandemic times for neighborhood watch. They assisted with contact tracing and enforcing community lockdown. In early 2020, Wuhan alone enlisted 170,000 grid managers, more than half the total—333,000—enlisted for the entire province of Hubei.[25] Nationally, tens of millions of grid managers were mobilized in China’s all-out war over COVID-19.

The grid governance system exemplifies China’s territorial approach to governing cities. The enforcement of grid management tracks clearly demarcated territories (i.e., those of grids). Horizontally, the grids connect the preexisting neighborhood-level governing bodies and, vertically they link neighborhoods with district and municipal governments. It is the newest layer of local territorial institutions installed by the state to collect information from residents and micromanage community affairs. The system has ensured that the party-state maintains a tight grip over the whole country.[26]

During the pandemic, grid managers performed an overwhelming list of duties. During Wuhan’s lockdown, grid managers guarded entrances to residential compounds, reminding people to keep their masks on, and checked the temperature of those who entered each compound.[27] They also helped to coordinate food and mail delivery, as residents were not allowed to venture out of their apartments except for essential activities.[28] To prepare for the Chinese New Year in 2021, grid managers in Wuhan distributed questionnaires to households asking for detailed information of holiday travel plans. Grid managers, aided by technology (facial scanners and surveillance cameras), also monitored those who self-quarantined at home.[29] Weighed down by so many responsibilities, many grid managers simply burned out. In Tonghua city, for instance, where a strict lockdown was imposed in January 2021, grid managers wound up delivering groceries to the city’s 400,000 people—another obligation piled on top of their duties for contact tracing, monitoring quarantines, and mass testing.[30]

Digital Surveillance

Yet another example of a territorial strategy for containing COVID-19 is a digital form of surveillance that relies on municipal health codes (jiankang ma). These innovative smartphone apps are used by municipal governments to collect an individual’s travel, contact history, and biometric data. Since March 2020, every Chinese city has rolled out its own contact tracing app, often in collaboration with tech companies such as Tencent and Alibaba. However, the hundreds of different apps do not share data, and some cities do not recognize the contact tracing apps of other cities, especially in highrisk regions. Launched by local territorial authorities, the contact tracing apps reflect a nationally fragmented and place-based effort of COVID-19 containment.

The contact tracing apps enabled local governments to track travel and health information from residents.[31] Local governments use the apps to collect four types of information, including personal data, daily health data updates, travel history, and health status such as Covid test results. Based on the information that residents input into their smartphones, a colored code is generated that reflects their level of risk for spreading the virus—green (low risk), yellow (medium risk), and red (high risk). Most public places—restaurants, shopping malls, buses, and subways—require a patron to display a green bar code before entering. For persons who input information about fever symptoms, travel history in high-risk regions, or contact with COVID-19 patients, their health code will turn yellow or red, and they will be barred from entering public places. Therefore, most urban residents across the country need to carry their phones and scan the health code app if they want to move around in the city.

The health-code system, however, has its downsides. First, it requires an apparatus of technical infrastructure that may not be widely available at any given time—smartphones, chargers, connections to Wi-Fi and telecommunication networks, and scanning machines installed at checkpoints. Although more than 80 percent of China’s 1.4 billion citizens have smartphones loaded with WeChat and Alipay, an Alibaba subsidiary, the remaining 20 percent do not.[32] These include mostly the elderly and the poor, who are denied access to public places and transportations.[33] Second, the health code apps work only at checkpoints with physical boundaries, such as fences, walls, and gates. They cannot be enforced in open spaces, such as unfenced residential neighborhoods. Third, the health code apps have to be inspected by people, but enforcement has been uneven. Some small businesses, such as neighborhood stores seeking more customers, sometimes do not require it. Or, in some residential compounds, the security guard at the entrance may choose to wave some persons in—without checking color codes—if he knows the persons well. Lastly, the algorithm behind the health codes app runs on self-reported information, which may not always be accurate. For example, people with a sore throat would get a yellow code if they record that information in the app and will be banned from public places; people who traveled to multiple cities find it cumbersome to fill in the same information in different municipal health code apps, or they simplify or falsify their answers so that they can travel.[34]

Like lockdowns and grid governance, the municipal health-code system underscores China’s territorial approach to urban governance. Every territorial unit, such as provinces and cities, launched its own health code to be used only in their jurisdictions, without trying to synchronize its standards with those used by other localities. The lack of coordination among municipal governments creates disincentives for users, especially those who travel. They have to repeatedly fill in the same information and eventually seek ways to game the system. In addition, some cities do not recognize the health codes of travelers from high-risk regions. The discrimination is especially felt by people from the hotspot cities, such as Wuhan in early 2020, Hebei, and Northeastern Provinces in Spring 2021, who found themselves unwelcome elsewhere, even with a green bar code.

Lessons from China

The Chinese experience of handling the COVID-19 pandemic yields lessons for other countries. First, it demonstrates the importance of empowering municipal institutions. Much of China’s success at containment has depended on municipal institutions, such as city governments and neighborhood-level governing bodies. Unlike other countries such as India and South Africa that have turned to their police and military, China mobilized local territorial institutions to spearhead efforts at mass testing, contact tracing, and enforcing quarantines. Four decades of market reform have resulted in significant power and resources devolving to China’s municipal governments, which in turn have been able to take bold steps to launch and enforce a wide range of COVID-19 countermeasures. By contrast, local governments in other countries, such as the United States and Europe, simply lack the capacity and resources to carry out mass testing, contact tracing, and quarantining. Although China’s single-party rule has facilitated the devolution of power to municipal governments, democracies also can strengthen their municipal institutions to play a larger role in managing public health emergencies.

Second, the Chinese experience has also shown the importance of a proactive central government in mounting effective COVID-19 strategies. Municipal institutions alone cannot handle major crises of this magnitude. Effective intervention from the center can take the form of national guidelines for enforcing basic prevention measures such as mask-wearing mandates. It can also mean better coordination with regional governments to distribute critical resources, such as medical supplies and vaccines. Poor coordination between the central and regional governments caused many European countries as well as the United States to stumble in the early phase of the pandemic. And intervention from the center can help balance resources among different regions, such as redirecting doctors and medical supplies to regions hardest hit by outbreaks. But countries lacking a strong federal response, including the United States and Brazil, fell short in all these dimensions.

Third, China also offers somber lessons about disengaging citizens. Chinese residents are not treated as equal partners of the state. The countermeasures adopted in China’s cities may have effectively contained the virus, but at a cost—bottom-up community initiatives have been stifled. With the intensified surveillance aided by grid managers and “big data,” the space in post-pandemic Chinese cities for autonomous self-governing and community initiatives has shrunk. Other countries present more inspiring comparators. In South Korea, for instance, local governments strived to build trust among citizens by improving transparency of policymaking, which led to high levels of voluntary cooperation.[35] In India, civil society groups—through their provision of food and shelter to stranded migrant workers—filled the gaps left by the state.[36]

Lastly, Chinese cities’ COVID-19 strategies, although effective for slowing down the transmission, raise questions over equity, privacy, and citizen rights. Lockdowns disrupt the economy and everyday life, and they are costly means for containing small, localized outbreaks. They especially affect the vulnerable populations, such as migrant workers and the urban poor, for whom working from home is not an option. The grid governance system has extended the party’s reach in urban communities and will further stifle the growth of nascent community organizations. The health code and other surveillance apps, while helpful for contact tracing, have allowed the state unprecedented access to personal information that can be used for purposes beyond containing the virus. Some of these measures are likely to continue in the future and will only further tighten the grip of the Chinese surveillance state.

1 United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), “Opinion: COVID-19 demonstrates urgent need for cities to prepare for pandemics,” June 15, 2020, https://unhabitat.org/opinion-COVID19-demonstrates-urgent-need-for-cities-to-prepare-for-pandemics.

2 S. Harris Ali and Roger Keil, Networked Disease: Emerging Infections in the Global City (Oxford: WileyBlackwell, 2008).

3 The most recent example, as of March 2021, is the new round of lockdowns in European cities due to the surging COVID-19 variants and slow pace of vaccination.

4 Alex Jingwei He, Yuda Shi and Hongdou Liu, “Crisis Governance, Chinese Style: Distinctive Features of China’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Policy Design & Practice 3, no. 3 (2020): 242–258.

5 Ciqi Mei, “Policy Style, Consistency and the Effectiveness of the Policy Mix in China’s Fight against COVID-19,” Policy and Society 39, no. 3 (2020): 309–325.

6 Lixia Wang, Beibei Yan, and Vigdis Boasson. “A National Fight against COVID-19: Lessons and Experiences from China,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 44, no. 6 (2020): 502–507.

7 Xuefei Ren, Governing the Urban in China and India: Land Grabs, Slum Clearance, and the War on Air Pollution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).

8 UIC Today, “Chicagoland has most local governments of all U.S. metro areas,” March 7, 2015, https:// today.uic.edu/metro-fragmentation.

9 Xuefei Ren, “The Quarantine of a Megacity: China’s Struggle over the Coronavirus Epidemic,” The Urban Now, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, February 4, 2020, https://www.ijurr.org/ the-urban-now/the-quarantine-of-a-megacity/.

10 He, Shi, and Liu, “Crisis Governance, Chinese Style.”

11 He, Shi, and Liu, “Crisis Governance, Chinese Style.”

12 Steven Lee Myers, Keith Bradsher, Sui-Lee Wee, and Chris Buckley, “Power, Patriotism, and 1.4 Billion People: How China Beat the Virus and Roared Back,” New York Times, 5 February 2021, https:// www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/world/asia/china-covid-economy.html.

13 Similar strategies were adopted during the previous outbreaks of infectious disease as well. See Yanzhong Huang and Christopher Smith, “China’s Response to Pandemics: From Inaction to Overreaction,” Eurasian Geography & Economics 51, no. 2 (2010):162–183.

14 The hukou system is China’s household registration system that divides the country’s population into rural and urban. The system links residents’ social security entitlement to the locations of their hukou registration. For a recent discussion on hukou reforms, see Kam Wing Chan, Urbanization with Chinese Characteristics: The Hukou System and Migration (New York: Routledge, 2018).

15 Xuefei Ren, Governing the Urban in China and India: Land Grabs, Slum Clearance, and the War on Air Pollution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020).

16 Fang Fang, Wuhan Dairy: Dispatches from a Quarantined City (New York: HarperVia, 2020); Yue Qian and Amy Hanser, “How did Wuhan Residents Cope with a 76-day Lockdown?" Chinese Sociological Review 53, no. 1 (2021): 55–86.

17 Dazhong Daily, “[Free Covid Testing for All Residents in Langfang City, Seven Days of Home Quarantine],” January 12, 2021, http://dzrb.dzng.com/articleContent/2241_829676.html.

18 Radio Free Asia, “[Residents Running out of Food in Tonghua, Mayor Apologizes],” January 25, 2021, https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/huanjing/cm-01252021092104.html.

19 Alex Jingwei He, Yuda Shi and Hongdou Liu, “Crisis Governance, Chinese Style: Distinctive Features of China’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Policy Design & Practice 3, no. 3 (2020): 242–258.

20 Xinhua Net, “Celebrating the New Year with More Targeted Effort,” January 27, 2021, http://www. xinhuanet.com/politics/2021-01/27/c_1127032740.htm.

21 Xinhua Net, “[Containing Covid is like ‘Catching mice in a china Store’],” January 29, 2021, http:// sh.xinhuanet.com/2021-01/29/c_139706101.htm.

22 Zhou Wei, “[Pandemic Shanghai Shows You What is a Modern City],” January 30, 2021, https:// mp.weixin.qq.com/s/HhhIkh0OO-_V407hXMAAeA.

23 Xuefei Ren, “Pandemic and Lockdown: A Territorial Approach to COVID-19 in China, Italy, and the United States,” Eurasian Geography & Economics 61, nos. 4–5 (2020): 423–34.

24 Beibei Tang, “Grid Governance in China’s Urban Middle-Class Neighborhoods,” China Quarterly 241 (2019): 43-61.

25 Raymond Zhong and Paul Mozur, “To Tame Coronavirus, Mao-Style Social Control Blankets China,” New York Times, February 15, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/business/china-coronaviruslockdown.html.

26 The grid governance system has been extended to rural areas as well.

27 Personal communication with Zhigang Li from Wuhan, on April 26, 2020.

28 The gated design of many urban residential compounds made it easier for grid managers to carry out their duties.

29 China News, “[Spring Festival in Wuhan’s neighborhoods],” February 13, 2021, https://m.chinanews. com/wap/detail/chs/sp/9411478.shtml.

30 Radio Free Asia, “[Residents Running out of Food in Tonghua, Mayor Apologizes],” January 25, 2021. https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/huanjing/cm-01252021092104.html.

31 Michelle Mello and C. Jason Wang, “Ethics and Governance for Digital Disease Surveillance,” Science 368, no. 6494 (2020): 951–54.

32 Chuncheng Liu, “Algorithms in Action: Reassembling Contact Tracing and Risk Assessment during the COVID-19 Pandemic in China,” September 26, 2020. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3702715.

33 Liu, “Algorithms in Action.”

34 Liu, “Algorithms in Action.”

35 J. Jae Moon, “Fighting COVID-19 with Agility, Transparency and Participation: Wicked Policy Problems and New Governance Challenges,” Public Administration Review 80, no. 4 (2020): 651–656.

36 Mukta Naik, “State-Society Interactions and Bordering Practices in Gurugram’s Pandemic Response,” Urbanisation 5, no. 2 (2020): 181–190.