Millions of residents of southern China’s Guangzhou manufacturing hub have been asked to get tested for COVID-19 as infections topped 2,000 for two consecutive days in the city’s worst outbreak to date. the moment.
- More than half of Guangzhou’s population of nearly 19 million will undergo mass testing
- China factory gate prices for October fell for the first time since December 2020, in part due to strict COVID restrictions
- Guangzhou authorities hope to avoid mass closures like in Shanghai
As local cases in China reached their highest level since April 30, authorities announced that five districts representing more than half of Guangzhou’s population of nearly 19 million would undergo mass testing.
It comes as China battles a spike in infections in several economically vital cities, including the capital Beijing, as well as Zhengzhou and Chongqing.
That has dashed hopes that the world’s second-largest economy could ease curbs and restrictions soon.
Authorities are determined to control outbreaks and abide by President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy, without having to impose massive lockdowns like the ones that shut down Shanghai earlier this year.
Guangzhou districts subject to mass testing this week include Haizhu, which has seen the largest share of the city’s cases.
A district-wide lockdown from Saturday to Monday has been extended into Friday as cases rise.
“My residential complex in Tianhe [district] been locked up since yesterday,” said Jason Li, a Guangzhou resident.
“Residents were ordered not to leave our building.”
Li said he had not been told how long his compound would be closed.
“Thank goodness I’ve stocked up on groceries recently,” he said.
Guangzhou resident Lily Li said the outbreak in the city had worsened in the past two days and had spread to Tianhe, just north of Haizhu.
“Honestly, it’s already a big surprise that Tianhe hasn’t been hit before,” he said.
Guangzhou reported 2,637 new locally transmitted COVID cases on Nov. 8, up from 2,377 the day before.
That’s almost a third of the 8,176 new local infections reported in China that day.
COVID testing strains smaller towns
In the latest sign of how anti-virus measures are crushing consumer demand, China’s factory gate prices for October fell for the first time since December 2020 and consumer inflation moderated, in part due to tight restrictions. from COVID.
Apple supplier Foxconn said it would continue a system in which staff live on site at its iPhone plant, even as the area where the factory was lifted under a seven-day lockdown.
Foxconn has refused to disclose the number of infections or comment on the conditions of those infected.
Problems at the plant have affected iPhone production, prompting Apple to say Monday that it expects lower shipments of premium iPhone 14 models.
While China’s COVID cases are small by global standards, the political response has been relentless and mass testing of large populations has been the norm since 2020.
Mass testing is usually free, but some local governments are resuming testing charges as their finances come under strain amid a slowing economy.
Chengdu, the sprawling capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, will end free COVID testing after November 30.
Reflecting the financial stress that COVID testing has caused in smaller cities, a COVID testing company in Xuchang, a city in Henan province, threatened on Tuesday to stop all testing-related work from Friday due to late payments from the authorities.
On Wednesday, the firm said the payment issue had been resolved and testing would continue.