Only a few vehicles pass through Beijing’s Central Business District on November 23, 2022, including one carrying two health workers, as the area announces stricter Covid controls.
Kevin Fryer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
BEIJING – Mainland China reported more than 31,000 Covid infections on Wednesday, including asymptomatic cases.
According to a CNBC calculation of wind information data, Shanghai surpassed the 29,317 high seen in mid-April during the lockdown.
However, daily symptomatic Covid infections are well below the high seen in April. Data shows that of the total Covid cases reported in the recent past, nearly 90% or more are asymptomatic.
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 province-level regions have reported new COVID-19 infections with and without symptoms every day.
Since the weekend, six Covid-related deaths have been recorded as of Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.
China’s tighter COVID controls have weighed on sentiment and business activity. National GDP barely grew during the second quarter due to the Shanghai lockdown. By the end of the third quarter, growth for the year had risen just 3% from a year earlier – well short of the official target of around 5.5% announced in March.
Factories located near Covid outbreaks have tried to maintain operations by using closed-loop management, which typically requires employees to be on site.
Business representatives have noted difficulties in getting workers from closed neighborhoods to factories, while long periods of time at production sites often leave workers fatigued.
During the latest covid wave, Apple Supplier Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou has drawn attention for videos of renewed labor unrest shared on social media. It was not clear how many of the factory’s roughly 200,000 workers were involved, or whether there was any impact on production.
Foxconn said on Wednesday that some new hires had appealed to the company about work allowances, while adding that contrary to speculation, new workers would only move into disinfected dormitories.
Zhengzhou said separately that people living in the central part of the city should not leave their homes for five days starting Friday while authorities conduct mass virus testing.
China this month cut quarantine times and announced other measures to make its Covid control more targeted. But officials have insisted on their zero-Covid policy, while there are concerns whether the public health system can handle the surge in infections.
The latest Covid controls on in-person businesses and apartment building lockdowns extend to parts of China, a country of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are publicly announced, while sanctions are increasingly targeted and can last from a few days to weeks or longer.
For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to resume operations on Friday, after suspending operations on October 31 due to COVID.
Meanwhile, Universal Beijing Resort, located on the outskirts of the city, remains open after a five-day shutdown that ended on October 31, despite strict restrictions in Beijing’s business district.
— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.
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