CHINA. Beijing: Following confirmed reports of new coronavirus cases in Guangzhou and other Chinese cities, as per official data on Tuesday, the global manufacturing hub became the latest COVID-19 hotspot. This tests China’s ability to follow through with its stringent ‘zero-covid’ policy.
New locally transmitted infections nationwide surged to 7,475 on November 7. According to China’s health authority, a spike of 5,496 cases were seen. Guangzhou accounted for nearly one-third of the new infections.
By global standards, the surge was modest but significant news for China, where the slightest hint of potential infection is quashed by implementing a strict Shanghai-style lockdown with a nationwide ‘zero-covid’ policy.
Economically richer cities, much like the capital city of Beijing, are demanding more PCR tests to be conducted for local residents and shutting down neighbourhoods and even districts to contain the infection.
The sharp rebound could challenge China’s perseverance against the virus via testing and quarantine. Still, it could possibly dampen investors’ hopes that the world’s second-largest economy could be less harsh about restrictions and sanctions.
Keeping in mind how China’s strict lockdowns and policies have begun crushing domestic consumption, Nie said he had lessened his fourth-quarter economic forecasts from a previous 4%-4.5% to a potential 3.5%.
The economy only grew to 3.9% in the July-September quarter.
Rising cases dampened China’s stock markets on Tuesday, but shares have not yet surrendered last week’s huge gains.
“No matter how harsh the letter of the law is…there is a little bit more loosening,” said Damien Boey, chief macro strategist at Australian investment bank Barrenjoey.
Meanwhile, steep spikes in confirmed COVID cases in Guangzhou mean the “factory floor of the world” has surpassed the Inner Mongolia city of Hohhot to become China’s latest and most significant COVID epicentre.
Despite the rising cases, Guangzhou has not yet been cast into a Shanghai-style lockdown, with varying levels of curbs and restrictions around its area.