Photo Credit: Ryan Hesketh | Bloomberg
China’s zero-Covid policy is manifesting itself once more in its southern region. Shenzen’s largest electronics market was closed after authorities discovered Covid-infected residents in the neighborhood. Public transportation has also been suspended, and residents have been prohibited from leaving their homes.
The nation’s health departments have been closely monitoring a number of locations in the Futian district, including Huaqiangbei. The location is well-known for being a hub for people looking to purchase necessities for their electronic devices due to the abundance of stalls selling microchips, mobile parts, and computer components.
Following the development, mandatory lockdowns have already been implemented in some regions of southern China. The government forbids residents from leaving their homes, except for when they are undergoing Covid testing, which they must do daily until Thursday.
Businesses have suffered as a result. A massive business income loss resulted from the Futian district’s four-day lockdown. The only operating facilities are those that are absolutely necessary, like pharmacies, hospitals, and supermarkets. Other businesses have temporarily closed. There are no open restaurants, so all dining options are takeout.
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China, in its fight against Covid
China has been the most cautious country in the world regarding handling the pandemic, partly because the outbreak began there. China’s zero-covid policy includes extensive testing, quarantines, immediate lockdowns, electronic monitoring, and stringent procedures.
Beijing and other major economic centers are not impervious to China’s desire to stop the virus as soon as it is discovered. For example, only 35 cases were necessary for authorities in Shenzen, a city of more than 18 million people, to act and halt all operations. Eleven of the 35 most recent cases are asymptomatic.
Following the minor outbreak, the Luohu and Longgang districts also mandated the closure of parks and other public spaces; shows, conferences, and performances are also currently prohibited, along with large crowd gatherings. In the meantime, hundreds of bus stations and 24 subway stations are currently inoperative.
As a new subvariant of the Omicron BF.15, which is harder to detect and spreads more quickly than its predecessors, Shenzen officials said they are concerned about the variant that made its way to the district.
“The upcoming period will be the most stressful, high-risk and grim period for epidemic prevention and control in our city.”
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Outbreaks in Chinese regions
China’s major hubs faced a new threat from the new Omicron variants just as the country’s economy appeared to be improving. Lockdowns are also anticipated to increase as more infected people are found.
In China, lockdowns resemble a tug-of-war. Due to the fluctuating number of cases, China had to repeatedly impose lockdowns in Beijing. The hubs might open, for instance, when the number of cases decreases. However, authorities will immediately impose strict lockdown protocols if a case is discovered.
There is no doubt that the continuous application of China’s anti-Covid protocols has hurt people, businesses, and the nation as a whole. The nation’s youth unemployment rate reached a record high in July.
The heat does not help with the resolution
The extreme heat that the nation is enduring makes the response to Covid more challenging than ever. Heat waves have already affected many parts of China, killing crops there. Further, blackouts have been brought on by power shortages.
As a result, those waiting in line to receive the vaccine had to endure the stifling heat. Millions of people endure the sweltering heat waves as they stand in long lines in front of Covid-testing facilities.
“China’s electricity demand has been incredibly flat in the past because so much of it has come from the industry, not from households or services. Now with air conditioning becoming more common, the demand is becoming higher,” stated Lauri Myllyvirta, a lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.
“At the same time, rains are becoming more errant. Heavy rains and periods of drought make hydropower much less reliable as a source of available capacity during those peaks.”