Total Daily Covid Cases in Mainland China Exceed Shanghai Lockdown Highs

Only a handful of vehicles, including one carrying two medical workers, pass through Beijing’s CBD on November 23, 2022, as the area announced tightening controls on Covid.

Kevin Fryer | News Getty Images | Getty Images

BEIJING — Mainland China reported more than 31,000 Covid infections on Wednesday, including cases without symptoms.

This topped the high of 29,317 seen in mid-April during the Shanghai lockdown, according to CNBC’s calculations from Wind Information.

However, daily symptomatic Covid infections remain well below the April high. The data showed that almost 90% or more of the total number of Covid cases reported in recent days were asymptomatic.

The southern city of Guangzhou, the national capital of Beijing and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing have been hardest hit by the latest wave of Covid.

But nearly all of China’s 31 provinces are reporting new cases of Covid infection with and without symptoms daily.

There have been six Covid-related deaths since the weekend as of Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.

Strict Covid control measures in China have weighed on sentiment and business activity. National GDP barely grew in the second quarter due to the quarantine in Shanghai. As of the end of the third quarter, growth for the year was up just 3% year-over-year, well below the official target of about 5.5% announced in March.

Factories located near Covid outbreaks have tried to keep running using what is called closed-loop management, which typically requires staff to live on site.

Business representatives note the difficulty in getting workers from closed areas to factories, and employees who live too long on production sites are often tired.

During the last wave of Covid, Apple iPhone supplier Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory has attracted attention with videos of renewed worker unrest posted on social media. It was not clear how many of the factory’s approximately 200,000 employees were involved, or if there was any impact on production.

On Wednesday, Foxconn said some new hires had approached the company for a work allowance, while saying that contrary to speculation, new hires would only move to sanitized dormitories.

Separately, Zhengzhou said that residents of the inner city should not leave their homes for five days starting Friday while authorities carry out mass testing for the virus.

Why China shows no signs of abandoning its 'Covid zero' strategy

This month, China shortened lockdown times and announced other measures to make Covid control more targeted. But authorities are highlighting their zero-Covid policy at a time when there are concerns whether the public health system can handle a surge in infections.

Targeted Covid Measures

The latest Covid controls on personal business and multi-family lockdowns are scattered across parts of China, a nation of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are publicly announced, while restrictions are becoming more targeted and can range from a few days to weeks or longer.

For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to reopen on Friday after being closed due to Covid on October 31st.

Meanwhile, despite tightening restrictions in Beijing’s business district, the Universal Beijing Resort on the outskirts of the city remains open after a five-day closure ending October 31.

– Jihyo Lee of CNBC contributed to this report.

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

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