Several big Chinese cities escalated COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, with Shenzhen closing more businesses and Dalian locking down millions, renewing economic uncertainty and delaying the start of the school year for some.
The fresh measures, scheduled to last just a few days for now, reflect China’s insistence on its so-called “dynamic COVID-zero” policy that aims to quash every outbreak as and when it happens.
Today’s impressive Covid test video from China. An unfortunate goose. #China #ZeroCovid pic.twitter.com/whyxdrElZV
— Franka Lu (@FrankaLu) August 28, 2022
The stakes are higher for China’s already wobbly national economy compared to earlier this month, when the lockdowns were mostly in smaller cities. Further major escalation or prolonging curbs in big metropolises, such as Chengdu in southwest China, risks hurting tepid economic growth.
Markets in danger
“Markets could once again be hit in the next couple of weeks, likely triggering another round of cuts by economists on the street,” Nomura, a Japanese financial holding company, warned in a note on Tuesday, highlighting the significance of cities such as the southern technology hub of Shenzhen.
Longhua, a Shenzhen district with 2.5 million residents, on Tuesday closed various entertainment venues and wholesale market-places, and suspended large events.
China’s southern technology hub of Shenzhen shut down Huaqiangbei district, home to the world’s largest electronics wholesale market, to contain a fresh Covid-19 outbreak. pic.twitter.com/aPXbSyO8RL
— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) August 30, 2022
People must show proof of negative test results within 24 hours to enter residential compounds, and restaurants must limit the number of customers to no more than 50 percent of their capacity, Longhua’s district authority announced. The new curbs are expected to expire on Saturday.
The moves followed similar measures announced on Monday covering three other districts that affected over six million in Shenzhen, which has fought multiple outbreaks of Omicron sub-variants this year.
In Dalian, a major port in northeastern China, important for soybeans and iron ore imports, the main urban areas with around 3 million residents on Tuesday entered a lockdown that is to last until Sunday. Households are allowed to send only one person out per day to shop for daily necessities.
Dalian goes into 5 day lockdown. Liaoning province (pop. 43mil) reported 16 Covid cases on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/FCe9HwUYrZ
— Darin Friedrichs (@crushspread) August 29, 2022
Mainland China reported 1,717 domestically transmitted COVID infections for August 29, including 349 symptomatic and 1,368 asymptomatic ones, official data showed on Tuesday.
In Hong Kong, cases have been rising and government advisors expect infections to hit 10,000 per day this week, triggering concerns that authorities will tighten restrictions which have only just been relaxed.
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