Citywide lockdowns are proliferating across China as the COVID-19 virus continues to frustrate Beijing’s attempts to banish the virus from everywhere in the country.
Shanghai’s ordeal, which has seen the infected taken against their will to rudimentary ‘containment hospitals’ and the mass slaughter of the pets they were forced to leave behind, is now being replicated in other cities.
The Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone, an industrial area in the central province of Henan that houses manufacturing facilities of companies such as Apple, announced a 14-day lockdown on Friday “to be adjusted according to the epidemic situation”.
The announcement came as the northwestern city of Xian said it would temporarily impose a partial lockdown on its 13 million residents following dozens of infections this month.
Back in Shanghai itself, every day brings record numbers of symptomatic COVID-19, with local officials refusing to drop what is described as the “dynamic clearance” approach to virus control.
The new restrictions highlight broad supply chain disruptions that are seen likely to lead to delays in shipments from companies including Apple. Economists also say the curbs will weigh on the country’s economic growth rate this year.
Factories suspend production
China’s central bank on Friday evening cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves in a move to cushion sharply slowing growth.
On Friday, the chief of Chinese electric-car marker Xpeng said that automakers may have to suspend production next month if suppliers in Shanghai and surrounding areas can’t resume work.
Shanghai, which has been at the centre of China’s latest outbreak, on Saturday reported a record 3590 symptomatic cases and 19,923 asymptomatic cases for April 15. The asymptomatic case number was up slightly from 19,872 cases a day earlier.
The city’s tally of cases continue to make up the vast majority of cases nationwide even as most of the city’s 25 million residents remain under lockdown.
China reported 24,791 new cases on April 15, of which 3896 were symptomatic and 20,895 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.
That compares with 24,268 new cases a day earlier – 3486 symptomatic and 20,782 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.
Henan province reported 24 new asymptomatic cases on Friday, and no symptomatic cases.