More parts of China grapple with Covid and lockdown threats as cases rise

Covid-related restrictions have tightened in parts of China as local cases soar, while lighter measures such as testing for the virus continue in Shanghai, pictured here July 3, 2022.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING — Just days after China eased some Covid controls, cases of the virus in different parts of the country have raised alarms in new regions.

The number of cities restricting local movement more than doubled in a week to 11 as of Monday, up from five weeks earlier, according to Ting Lu, Nomura’s chief China economist.

The latest measures affect regions that account for about 14.9% of China’s GDP, up from 10.1% a week earlier, Nomura said.

The daily number of Covid cases in mainland China, including those without symptoms, has risen from a few cases to around 200 or 300 new cases in the past few days. Most of them are asymptomatic.

Many of the new cases are in the Shanghai area. The neighboring city of Wuxi in Jiangsu province said late on Saturday that bars and gyms would be closed. need to temporarily close while restaurants could only offer takeaway food.

Last week, a much smaller region called Xi County in neighboring Anhui ordered residents to stay in their homes and only go out at designated times to be tested for the virus.

In June, Beijing and Shanghai tried to resume normal business activity after weeks of lockdowns that kept children out of school and shut down many restaurants. The southeastern metropolis of Shanghai was by far the hardest hit and was closed for April and May.

Last week, mainland China shortened the quarantine period for international travelers and close contacts with Covid cases. The country has also changed the nationwide travel system, which would theoretically make it easier to travel within the country.

The daily number of Covid cases in Beijing and Shanghai has dropped to single digits or zero over the past few days.

“Markets could get too complacent if they ignore the recovery in coronavirus cases and underestimate the cost of ongoing measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” Nomura’s Lu said in a report released on Monday.

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In addition to new cases on the mainland in economic hubs such as Jiangsu, Lu noted the spread of Covid in neighboring economies, as evidenced by rising cases in Hong Kong and an average of more than 100 new deaths in Taiwan last week. .

Mainland China has not reported new Covid deaths in weeks.

“Since the end of May, we have been in the upswing phase of China’s ‘Covid (CBC) business cycle’ due to the decline in Covid-19 cases, the lifting of lockdowns and other easing of the Zero Covid (ZCS) strategy of restrictions and stimulus measures,” he said. another wave of Omicron could lead to a return to the decline phase, although the timing of such an event is unknown.”

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