- Southern manufacturing hub battles worst COVID-19 outbreak
- Cases double in Zhengzhou, Apple’s production base
- Chinese stocks and currency slide amid virus fears
BEIJING, Nov 8 (Reuters) – New coronavirus cases have risen in Guangzhou and other Chinese cities, official data showed on Tuesday, with the global manufacturing hub becoming China’s latest epicenter of COVID1-9 and testing the the city’s ability to avoid a Shanghai-style lockdown.
Nationwide, new locally transmitted infections soared to 7,475 on November 7, according to Chinese health officials, from 5,496 the previous day and the highest since May 1. Guangzhou accounted for almost a third of new infections.
The increase was modest by global standards, but significant for China, where outbreaks are quickly brought under control when they appear. Economically vital cities, including the capital Beijing, are requiring more PCR tests for residents and locking down neighborhoods and even districts in some cases.
The sharp rebound will test China’s ability to maintain its surgical and targeted COVID measures, and challenge investors’ expectations that the world’s second-largest economy could soon reopen its borders or even abandon its zero-tolerance approach. .
The yuan weakened against the dollar and Chinese stocks fell on Tuesday as the rise in the number of COVID cases eroded optimism that China will reopen its borders, closed to most visitors. , including tourists since 2020.
Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, reported 2,377 new local cases for Nov. 7, down from 1,971 the day before. It was a dramatic jump from the double-digit increases of two weeks ago.
As cases surged, the sprawling southern city, dubbed ‘the factory of the world’, overtook the city of Hohhot in northern Inner Mongolia as China’s current COVID epicenter, in its most serious epidemic never known.
Many districts in Guangzhou, including central Haizhu, have imposed varying levels of restrictions and closures. But, so far, Guangzhou has withstood a general lockdown like that of Shanghai earlier this year.
Shanghai, which is not currently facing a COVID resurgence, was locked down in April and May after reporting several thousand new infections per day in the last week of March.
“We have been working from home for a few days,” said Aaron Xu, who runs a business in Guangzhou.
“Only a few resorts have been locked down so far. Most of the time we see disruptions in the form of suspended transit services and resort security prohibiting couriers and food delivery. And we need to do PCR tests every day.”
Elsewhere in Guangdong province, the country’s biggest airshow kicked off in Zhuhai on Tuesday, with some attendees and delegates suddenly finding themselves stranded from the event due to COVID measures amid rising cases in the coastal city.
Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan Province and a major Apple production base (AAPL.O) Foxconn supplier (2317.TW)reported 733 new local cases for Nov. 7, more than doubling from the previous day.
In Beijing, authorities detected 64 new local infections, a slight increase from Guangzhou and Zhengzhou, but enough to trigger a new wave of PCR testing for many of its residents and a lockdown of more buildings and neighborhoods.
“The lockdown situation has continued to deteriorate rapidly across the country over the past week, with our internal China COVID lockdown index rising to 12.2% of China’s total GDP from 9.5% last Monday.” , Nomura wrote in a note on Monday.
“We continue to believe that while Beijing may fine-tune some of its COVID measures in the coming weeks, these adjustment measures could be more than offset by local authorities tightening the zero-COVID strategy.”
In the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, the city reported 281 new local cases, more than double from 120 a day earlier.
Chongqing officials put new restrictions on areas in at least four districts, closing some karaoke parlors, dance halls and entertainment venues, in a situation a local official described as “complex and serious”.
In the coal-producing region of Inner Mongolia, the city of Hohhot reported 1,760 new local cases for November 7, an upward trend from 1,013 the previous day.
Reporting by Ryan Woo, Bernard Orr, Liz Lee, Jing Wang and Josh Ye; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Stephen Coates
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