Thought to be clean of Covid, China blocked the city of 17.5 million people, causing all economic activity to come to a standstill
To prevent the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, China has locked down 17.5 million people in the southern city of Shenzhen for at least a week. The move could lead to manufacturing disruptions and delays at the country’s key technology hubs and ports.
China’s number of infections has risen to nearly 3,400. As a result, Shenzhen went into lockdown along with three rounds of testing across the city, according to the government announcement. The measure applies to Shenzhen’s central business district and lasts until March 20.
All bus and subway systems have been shut down. Businesses, except those that provide essential services, are closed. Residents will be asked not to leave Shenzhen, except in some special cases.
The city is home to many big tech companies such as Tencent and Huawei, as well as the main production base of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. – a major manufacturer of iPhones and other products from Apple.
The rapidly rising number of infections in the city is believed to be linked to the outbreak in Hong Kong, where some 300,000 people are isolated or quarantined at home. The outbreak in Shanghai has also caused most schools to return to online learning and travel to the city has also been restricted. Bus services from the province were also suspended. In addition, China’s aviation industry regulator also discussed the diversion of flights to Shenzhen.
People in the city of Shenzhen lined up to take samples for testing.
An even bigger outbreak due to the Omicron variant is spreading in the most developed cities in China. Therefore, this economic power is facing an unprecedented challenge when it comes to pursuing a zero Covid strategy.
For a long time, these policies have helped China avoid the spread of disease and have one of the main economies with the lowest death rates. However, nowadays, China is becoming more and more isolated from the world as other countries and regions open up and live with epidemics. So far, these quarantine measures are no longer effective due to the Omicron strain that continues to spread.
The zero Covid strategy has disrupted economic activity in other Chinese cities. In January, extensive testing forced the Toyota plant and another in Tianjin to close for more than a week. Therefore, it can be seen that this approach will make it difficult for Beijing to meet its growth target in 2022 due to the increasing costs of this action, according to Nomura. However, on Friday, the country’s top health official, Ma Xiaowei, continued to insist that strict control measures should be maintained.
Changchun, a city of about 9 million people in northeastern China, went into lockdown on Friday. The people here are also tested on a large scale. Like the early days of the epidemic in Wuhan, this city and the eastern region of Qingdao are also building makeshift hospitals.
Currently, the widespread epidemic in Hong Kong has created an unprecedented challenge for Beijing, as strict controls on the border with the city and weeks of quarantine are no longer appropriate for the situation. Thousands of people have fled Asia’s financial hubs for the mainland, with Shenzhen and Shanghai among the busiest inbound cities.
While still committed to a zero-Covid campaign, there are now signs that Chinese officials and health professionals are considering scrapping this approach and living with the pandemic.
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