New Lockdowns in China Threaten Supply Chains
After the controversial, two-months long coronavirus lockdown of Shanghai, China has once again placed a city of more than 20 million people under house arrest.
A coronavirus lockdown commenced in Chengdu in Central China on September 1, 2022. Mass tests are being carried out after the city saw 71 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, September 4. While officials said the restrictions would continue until at least Wednesday, residents are uneasy due to similarities to the Shanghai lockdown, which was also announced in a piecemeal fashion.
In April and May, almost 25 million people had been confined to their homes in Shanghai, with many suffering from the inadequate food supply, lack of medical attention and psychological distress.
In Southern tech hub Shenzhen, a weekend lockdown was lifted while restrictions in some parts of the city continue. The announcement had led to panic buying on Friday in the city that had been under a full lockdown for a week in March already and now fears a second confinement could happen. Shenzhen saw 87 new virus cases Sunday. In March, it was the biggest city China had locked down to date after a surge in coronavirus cases not seen since the first wave of infections in early 2020 emerged there. The Southern tech hub and special economic zone are only about one hour away from Hong Kong, which also saw a record-breaking Covid outbreak around that time.
According to Our World in Data, China recorded more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases in the past week. The highest-ever case count in the country occurred on April 14 of this year at around 29,500, almost double the 2020 high of 15,000 cases (February 13).
After the major lockdowns of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province ended in late March and early April of 2020, China successfully followed a zero-Covid strategy for most of 2020 and 2021. Ever since the more contagious Omicron variant emerged, however, it has challenged China’s approach of zero tolerance toward the disease.
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