BEIJING: China on Monday reported its highest number of daily covid cases in six months, despite strict lockdowns that have severely affected manufacturing, education and daily life.
Over the weekend, Beijing dashed hopes that its strict zero-Covid policy, which employs one-off lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing to quell outbreaks, could be relaxed any time soon.
But a spate of lockdown-related scandals in which residents have complained of inadequate conditions, food shortages and delays in emergency medical care have undermined public confidence.
The country recorded more than 5,600 new Covid cases on Monday, almost half in Guangdong province, a southern manufacturing hub that is home to major ports.
Apple warns of lower iPhone shipments as virus slows Zhengzhou plant
In Beijing, nearly 60 new infections were discovered, prompting school closures in the populous downtown Chaoyang district. Some companies have also asked their staff to work from home temporarily.
This was despite city officials saying on Monday that recent “successive outbreaks” had “basically been effectively brought under control” after new daily cases reached dozens in the past week.
And in central China, a grueling lockdown at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou prompted Apple to warn on Sunday that production had been “temporarily affected” and customers would experience delays in receiving their orders. .
“The facility is currently operating at a significantly reduced capacity,” the California-based tech titan said in a statement.
Apple Inc expects lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models than had been anticipated following a significant production cut at a virus-hit plant in China, clouding its sales outlook for the busy holiday season. of year.
“We continue to see strong demand for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models. However, we now expect lower iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max shipments than we previously anticipated,” he said in the statement.
Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, the main Apple subcontractor that runs the plant, revised down its quarterly profit forecast on Monday due to the shutdown.
China’s National Health Commission vowed on Saturday to “firmly” stick to zero-Covid, sparking a major stock market rally last week on unsubstantiated rumors that Beijing was imminently loosening its strict virus policy.
But a series of high-profile incidents have undermined Chinese public support for the approach.
The suicide death of a 55-year-old woman in the gated city of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, sparked widespread protest over the weekend after authorities admitted lockdown protocols delayed their emergency response.
The region has been affected by a major outbreak since late September, when a new variant of Omicron was first detected.
Shortly before the woman jumped out of a window, family members had informed community workers that she suffered from an anxiety disorder and had shown suicidal intent.
Audio of the woman’s daughter begging community workers to open the door that had been welded shut went viral on Chinese social media, drawing attention to mental health crises exacerbated by weeks-long lockdowns.
“Who has the right to weld the doors of buildings to close them? Who has the right to restrict the freedom to live of others? What if there is an earthquake or a fire, who is responsible afterwards? read a comment on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.
Local officials have promised to punish community workers who forcibly seal house doors and building doors with locks, even though it is a widespread practice in closed areas.
The incident came days after a young boy in the northwestern city of Lanzhou in neighboring Gansu province died of carbon monoxide poisoning after slow response from emergency medical services delayed hospital treatment.
Posted in Alba, November 8, 2022