Covid-19 curbs increase in China factory hub Guangzhou as outbreak balloons

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China is increasing Covid-19 restrictions in southern manufacturing powerhouse Guangzhou, suspending schools and widening lockdowns after days of more incremental moves failed to arrest a swelling outbreak.

In-person classes in eight of the city of some 19 million people’s 11 districts will be halted from Thursday, officials said late on Wednesday.

The order came after two more districts followed the Haizhu region in locking down, with residents confined to their homes except to shop for essential items like food.

Guangzhou has China’s most significant virus outbreak right now, accounting for 2,555 of the country’s 8,494 new infections reported for Wednesday.

While small by global standards, the tally is helping drive the national case count to levels not seen since Shanghai’s massive outbreak in the spring.

The persistence of Guangzhou’s flare-up raises the risk of more stringent action from authorities in the factory hub, home to many garment manufacturers as well as automakers like EV company Xpeng Inc.

It is also just over the border from Hong Kong.

China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index fell as much as 1 percent on Thursday morning, while a gauge of Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong dropped 2.3 percent.

Officials seemed to be following recently reinforced directions from Beijing to be less obtrusive in enforcing Covid Zero, holding back in imposing a more sweeping lockdown despite signs the virus was spreading in Guangzhou.

The order has seen authorities elsewhere be more covert with their restrictions, imposing curbs incrementally, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and in some cases not making any announcements at all.

Some residents have discovered they are in lockdown only when arriving home.

The world’s biggest iPhone factory remains under Covid-19 restrictions despite a wider lockdown on the area where the plant is located being lifted on Wednesday.

The government in Zhengzhou, a city in central China, reported a surge to 1,228 infections for Wednesday.

The Foxconn Technology Co. plant, known as “iPhone City” for its size, was in an area still deemed high risk, meaning lockdown-like curbs still apply, including a stay-at-home order.

The factory remains in a so-called closed loop system, a Foxconn representative said on Wednesday.

Beijing is also emerging as a key hotspot, with the capital reporting 95 new cases for Wednesday, holding near a more than five-month high.

Neighborhoods and apartment blocks in the populous Chaoyang district are being locked down, and some schools suspended, too.

 

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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