China’s Covid infections drop for first time in more than a week

On Monday, November 28, 2022, Covid workers disinfect an area in Beijing where locals had gathered a day earlier to protest the strict Covid measures.

Kevin Fryer | News Getty Images | Getty Images

BEIJING — Mainland China reported the first drop in daily Covid infections in more than a week on Monday.

The country said local infections, mostly asymptomatic, totaled 38,421, up from an all-time high of 40,052 registered on Sunday, according to CNBC’s calculations according to Wind Information.

The data showed that the last time the daily number of cases was down compared to the previous day on November 19.

Local infections have fallen in Guangdong and Chongqing, the two regions hardest hit by the latest wave of Covid. No new deaths were reported.

But the capital, Beijing, saw an increase in infections on Monday compared to the day before, as did Shanghai, albeit on a much smaller scale. Shanghai Disneyland said it would suspend operations from Tuesday after a brief reopening on Friday. Universal Beijing Resort remains open.

There were no signs of new protests on Monday. Over the weekend, students and groups of people across China held public demonstrations to protest the country’s tough coronavirus policy.

Security measures have been tightened in areas where protesters have gathered in Beijing and Shanghai, according to social media. Some social media posts said police were checking the phones of local residents in Shanghai for foreign apps that cannot be accessed on the mainland without a VPN.

China’s official evening news on Monday made no mention of the riots, but included a segment calling for unity around the current Covid measures. The broadcast also highlighted how the government supported medical services and delivered essential supplies to people in lockdown.

The goal of these measures is to minimize the impact of Covid on the economy and society, according to an article published on Tuesday in the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. The article strongly ruled out the idea of ​​weakening controls.

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Strict Covid control measures this year have greatly impacted business activity and economic growth in China. As of the third quarter, national GDP grew by 3% year on year, well below the official target of about 5.5% set in March.

According to Nomura’s model, as of Monday, 25.1% of China’s GDP was affected by Covid controls. This is higher than the previous peak of 21.2% recorded in April during the Shanghai lockdown.

“The rapid rise in public dissatisfaction with lockdowns over the past weekend could further cloud the path to reopening,” analysts at Nomura said.

Policy settings are loosened and tightened

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Municipal authorities subsequently banned the use of hard materials to block fire exits, apartment building doors, and compound entrances, and noted that short-term blockages should not exceed 24 hours.

They also stated that channels for seeking medical care should remain unimpeded. Previously, social media has featured stories about how people have been denied access to health care due to the alleged control of Covid.

Covid measures and their implementation vary by region, especially given the scattered nature of the outbreaks.

Since Tuesday, the city of Shanghai has tightened restrictions on entry to restaurants, malls and other commercial facilities. Anyone who wants to enter must now provide a negative virus test within the last 48 hours, instead of 72 hours.

And after the protests, at least Tsinghua University urged students to return home for the Lunar New Year’s winter break – more than a month early.

— Eunice Yoon of CNBC contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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