Only a few vehicles, including one with two health workers, passed through Beijing’s central business district on November 23, 2022, as the area has announced stricter Covid controls.
Kevin Frayer | News Getty Images | Getty’s image
BEIJING — Mainland China reported more than 31,000 Covid infections on Wednesday, including asymptomatic cases.
That surpassed the high of 29,317 seen in mid-April, during the Shanghai lockdown, according to CNBC calculations of Wind Information data.
However, daily Covid infections with symptoms remain well below the highs seen in April. Nearly 90% or more of the total Covid cases reported in recent days are asymptomatic, data shows.
The southern city of Guangzhou, the nation’s capital Beijing, and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing have been the hardest hit in the latest Covid wave.
But nearly all of China’s 31 province-level regions have reported new Covid infections, with and without symptoms, on a daily basis.
Since the weekend, six Covid-related deaths have been reported on Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.
China’s tight Covid controls have weighed on business sentiment and activity. The national GDP barely grew during the second quarter due to the Shanghai lockdown. At the end of the third quarter, growth this year was only up 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 using so-called closed-loop management, which usually requires staff to live on site.
Business representatives have noted the difficulty in getting workers from the confined environment to the factory, while staff who stay on the production site too long often become tired.
During the latest Covid wave, Apple iPhone supplier Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou city has attracted attention for a new worker riot video shared on social media. It was unclear how many of the factory’s roughly 200,000 staff were involved, or whether there was any impact on production.
Foxconn said Wednesday that some of the new hires had appealed to the company about work benefits, while stating that contrary to speculation, the new hires would only move to 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 carry out mass virus testing.
China this month slashed quarantine times and has announced other measures to try to make Covid control more targeted. But authorities have been emphasizing their zero-Covid policy, while there are concerns over whether the public health system can handle the surge in infections.
Targeted Covid measures
The latest Covid controls on direct businesses and apartment building lockdowns are scattered across parts of China, a nation of 1.4 billion people. Fewer actions are announced publicly, while restrictions are increasingly targeted and can range from just a few days — to weeks or more.
For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to resume operations on Friday, after suspending operations due to Covid on Oct. 31.
Meanwhile, despite stricter restrictions in Beijing’s business district, the Universal Beijing Resort in the suburbs remains open, following a five-day closure that ended on Oct. 31.
— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.
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