Mainland China’s total daily Covid cases soar above Shanghai lockdown heights

Mainland China’s total daily Covid cases soar above Shanghai lockdown heights

Mainland China’s total daily Covid cases soar above Shanghai lockdown heights

Only a few vehicles, including one carrying two health workers, drive through Beijing’s central business district on November 23, 2022, as the area has announced stricter Covid controls.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

BEIJING – Mainland China reported more than 31,000 Covid infections as of Wednesday, including cases without symptoms.

That 29,317 surpassed the high seen in mid-April, during the Shanghai blockade, according to CNBC calculations of wind information data.

However, daily Covid infections with symptoms remain well below the highest level in April. Almost 90% or more of the total Covid cases reported in recent days have been asymptomatic, the data showed.

The southern city of Guangzhou, the national capital of Beijing and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing have been hardest hit in the latest Covid wave.

But almost all of China’s 31 provincial-level regions have reported new Covid infections, with and without symptoms, every day.

Since the weekend, six Covid-related deaths have been reported as of Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.

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China’s strict Covid controls have weighed on sentiment and business activity. National GDP barely grew during the second quarter due to the shutdowns in Shanghai. At the end of the third quarter, growth for the year was up just 3% from a year ago – well below the official target of around 5.5% announced in March.

Factories located near Covid outbreaks have tried to maintain operations by using what is known as closed-loop management, which usually requires employees to live on site.

Company representatives have noted difficulties in getting workers from locked-down neighborhoods to factories, while employees who stay too long at production sites often become fatigued.

During the last Covid wave, apple supplier Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou has drawn attention for videos of renewed worker unrest shared on social media. It was unclear how many of the factory’s approximately 200,000 employees were involved, or if there was any impact on production.

Foxconn said Wednesday that some new hires had appealed to the company for severance pay, while stating that contrary to speculation, new hires would only move into disinfected dormitories.

Separately, Zhengzhou said those living in the central part of the city should not leave their homes for five days starting Friday while authorities conducted mass virus testing.

Why China shows no signs of retreating from its 'zero-Covid' strategy

China has this month cut quarantine times and announced other measures to try to make Covid controls more targeted. But the authorities have emphasized their zero-Covid policy, while there are concerns about whether the public health system can handle a surge in infections.

Targeted Covid measures

The latest Covid controls on closures of personal businesses and apartment buildings are spread across parts of China, a country of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are publicly announced, while restrictions are becoming increasingly targeted and can vary from just a few days – to weeks or longer.

For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to resume operations on Friday, after suspending operations due to Covid on October 31.

Meanwhile, despite tighter restrictions in Beijing’s business district, the Universal Beijing Resort on the outskirts of the city remains open, following a five-day closure that ended on October 31.

— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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