Guangzhou in China tightens COVID restrictions as infections hit major southern cities

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Workers set up barricades outside an entrance to Wanxia Urban Village as part of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) control measures in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China August 29, 2022. REUTERS /David Kirton/File Photo

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BEIJING, Aug 31 (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Guangzhou on Wednesday imposed COVID-19 restrictions in parts of the city, joining Shenzhen in tackling local outbreaks, deepening uncertainty over commerce and daily life in two of the most economically dynamic metropolises in southern China.

Several of China’s biggest cities tightened their COVID-19 restrictions this week, affecting the activities of tens of millions of people. Anxious to balance economic needs with efforts to contain each outbreak, authorities said restrictions would only last a few days, although some smaller towns extended restrictions earlier this month.

China’s so-called “dynamic COVID zero” policy makes it an outlier as other countries gradually exit coronavirus restrictions, despite the cost to the world’s second-largest economy which was already facing slower growth.

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Guangzhou, a city of nearly 19 million people near Hong Kong, reported just five locally transmitted infections on Tuesday, but authorities ordered some areas of a district to close indoor entertainment venues and restaurants until Saturday.

The city also ordered all kindergartens and elementary, middle and high schools in the district to delay resuming fall semesters and halt offline sessions that have already begun, according to state media Wednesday. .

Bus and metro services in the neighborhood have also been reduced.

In Shenzhen, at least four districts with a total population of about 9 million have already ordered the closure of entertainment and cultural businesses and halted or reduced restaurant dining for a few days.

The combined economic output of Shenzhen and Guangzhou reached 5.89 trillion yuan ($855 billion) last year, about half of South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP).

DISTURBED ECONOMY

According to Capital Economics, 41 cities, responsible for 32% of China’s GDP, are currently in the midst of outbreaks – the highest number since April.

“For now, the resulting disruptions appear modest, but the threat of damaging lockdowns is growing,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

“And even if they are avoided, we expect growth to remain subdued going forward.”

China reported 1,675 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of August 30, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday, up from 1,717 new local cases a day earlier.

Most of the cases have been found in Tibet region and Sichuan province.

The Shanghai mall would tighten control over large gatherings and avoid unnecessary gatherings, a city official said, as the city reported two new local infections on Tuesday, including one found in the community.

Major conferences and events involving travel across cities and regions should be reduced, delayed or moved online as much as possible, Wu Qianyu, a Shanghai health official, told a press briefing. .

($1 = 6.8920 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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