More Shanghai COVID Cases Lead To Stricter Restrictions

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On April 16th, Shanghai reported a new high for symptomatic COVID-19 cases, while other cities throughout China tightened controls as the country continued its “dynamic clearing” strategy to eradicate the highly communicable Omicron form.

A day before, the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone, one of the central Chinese manufacturing areas where Apple Inc. supplier Foxconn is located, issued a 14-day lockdown “to be adjusted according to the pandemic scenario.”

Following hundreds of COVID-19 infections this month, the city of Xian in northwest China recommended citizens avoid needless visits beyond their residential complexes and urged businesses to have staff work from home or live at their job on Friday. In response to citizens’ fears about possible food shortages, a Xian government official stated on Saturday that the declaration did not represent a lockdown and also that the city would not enforce one.

On Saturday, the mayor of Suzhou, near Shanghai, said that all employees who are able to work from home must do so, and that residential complexes and business campuses should avoid allowing individuals and cars to enter without permission. In its most major outbreak, it has recorded more than 500 infections. Shanghai, which has been at the epicentre of China’s ongoing COVID outbreak since early March, reported a new high of 3,590 symptomatic cases and 19,923 asymptomatic cases on Saturday. The number of asymptomatic cases increased marginally from 19,872 the day before. Despite the fact that most of the city’s 25 million citizens are still under lockdown, its case total accounts for the great majority of cases nationwide. China’s “dynamic clearing” programme tries to contain rare outbreaks as rapidly as possible. The method has been the optimal choice at this moment based on China’s existing epidemic condition.

However, in a letter posted on the consulate’s website on Saturday, Japan’s consul general in Shanghai urged the local authorities to address the concerns of Japanese firms.

In recent weeks, domestic support for a zero-COVID policy has eroded as virus-related restrictions have resulted in food shortages, family separations, lost income, and economic hardship.

Disruptions In The Supply Chain

According to analysts, widespread risks are likely to cause delays in shipments from companies such as Apple this year, putting a strain on the country’s economic growth rate.

The amount of cash that banks must maintain as reserves was slashed by China’s central bank on Friday evening, attempting to cushion a steep slowdown in growth, albeit the drop was smaller than widely predicted. Analysts at Goldman Sachs advocated more policy easing. Policymakers may lean toward deploying additional fiscal measures (such as accelerating the development of large infrastructure projects) and focused monetary stimulus (like relending & rediscounting) as the key policy levers going forward, Goldman Sachs wrote in a note.

Only personnel with valid passes, health codes, and proof of negative COVID tests will be allowed to leave the Zhengzhou economic zone during the two-week period, local councils said in a post on an official WeChat instant messaging account, though “special vehicles” will be free to travel normally for work reasons.

On April 15, China had 24,791 new cases of coronavirus, with 3,896 of them being symptomatic and 20,895 of them not, according to the National Health Commission.