China COVID-19 Outbreak Hits 42 Cities, Affecting More Than 100-M People
China has placed hundreds of millions of its citizens under renewed lockdown after fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 hit 42 cities and the government has imposed lockdowns to contain the virus even as such lockdowns suffocate an economy already suffering from droughts and recurrent power shortages, Martin Farrer reported for The Guardian.
Photo Insert: An anti-pandemic work group to support the COVID-19 control efforts
According to Capital Economics, 41 cities, responsible for 32% of China’s GDP, are currently in the midst of outbreaks – the highest number since April.
“For now, the resulting disruption appears modest, but the threat of damaging lockdowns is growing,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics. “And even if they are avoided, we expect growth to remain subdued going forward.”
Beijing has been relatively unaffected although travel in and out of the capital has been discouraged and residents are subject to testing on an almost daily basis, the Associated Press (AP) also reported.
Partial lockdowns have been imposed on other cities such as Chengdu, Shenyang, and Jishui. The measures affected cities from the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou to Dalian, and from Chengdu to Shijiazhuang in Hebei province.
The lockdown in Dalian was expected to affect about half of its six million residents and was due to last five days, although authorities have in the past extended restrictions depending on the number of new cases.
In Shenzhen, at least four districts with around 9 million residents have already ordered the closure of entertainment and cultural businesses and restaurant dining for a few days, Reuters also reported.
Guangzhou, a city of nearly 19 million people near Hong Kong, reported just five locally transmitted infections on Tuesday but authorities ordered certain areas in one district to close indoor entertainment venues and dining at restaurants until Saturday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called China’s policy unsustainable.
On Monday, a Chinese thinktank made a rare public display of dissent, saying the curbs – which have shut down cities and disrupted trade, travel, and industry – must change to prevent an “economic stall.”
The Anbound Research Center said President Xi Jinping’s government needed to focus on restoring growth like the United States, Europe, and Japan.
“Preventing the risk of economic stall should be the priority task,” the thinktank said in a report titled It’s Time for China to Adjust Its Virus Control and Prevention Policies, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.