CHINA: As the highly transmissible Omicron variant causes outbreaks from Shanghai to Shenzhen, China has reported more local symptomatic COVID-19 cases this year than it did in all of 2021. According to the National Health Commission (NHC), on March 13, Mainland China reported 1,337 new domestically transmitted COVID cases with confirmed symptoms, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). According to Reuters calculations, this brings the total this year to more than 9,000, up from 8,378 in 2021.
In the last week, new COVID cases have been reported in Beijing and Shanghai, China’s most populous cities, and the coastal provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang. While the number of infections is small compared to caseloads elsewhere in the world, the rapid rate of increase has triggered China’s dynamic zero COVID policy, which requires infections to be identified and contained as soon as possible.
“The long-distance bus station has been closed, and when traveling to other provinces, nucleic acid tests are required.” Loyd Ge, 34, a Shanghai resident, agreed. “However, even with these countermeasures, we still encountered a new outbreak in Shanghai, implying that control measures will be strengthened further. We should brace ourselves for a citywide lockdown.”
In Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley, officials have temporarily suspended public transportation and urged people to work from home as they conduct citywide testing this week in response to the surge in new cases.
On Monday, Apple suppliers Foxconn and Unimicron Technology Corp ceased operations in the southern city. Foxconn announced that operations would be halted until further notice and deploy backup plants to minimize production disruption.
Toyota has halted production at its joint venture with China’s FAW Group in the northeastern city of Changchun, which is currently under lockdown.
“China’s economy could be severely hit again,” Nomura warned in a note, adding that the COVID situation in China had deteriorated at an “alarming” rate in the previous week. “The outbreak has now reached almost every part of China with significant economic significance,” said Nomura.
According to the NHC, China reported 1,437 new confirmed COVID cases on March 13, including patients from outside the mainland, up from 1,938 the day before.
There were 906 new asymptomatic cases, which China does not consider confirmed cases, compared to 1,455 the previous day. There were no new deaths, so the death toll remains at 4,636. As of March 13, mainland China reported 116,902 confirmed cases, including domestic and imported cases.