China orders shutdown in major cities and closes factories

China orders shutdown in major cities and closes factories

17 million residents of the southern China city of Shenzhen were imprisoned this Monday (14) due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that forced the suspension of activities at a factory iPhone and prompted the imposition of restrictions in other major metropolitan cities such as Shanghai.

Authorities in Shenzhen announced new confinement on Sunday (13) after an outbreak of the disease related to neighboring Hong Kong was detected in the city, where the virus causes much damage.

This Monday, Taiwan’s electronics giant Foxconn, Apple’s main supplier, announced the suspension of operations in Shenzhen, as confinement affects the functioning of its factories.

Foxconn, which employs thousands of people in the city, said it has shifted production to other centres.

Shenzhen is one of ten cities in China that are currently under lockdown, along with Dalian, Nanjing and Tianjin near Beijing.

Officials counted 2,300 new cases nationwide this Monday. On Sunday, nearly 3,400 were reported, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Although the number of cases remains low compared to other countries, the balance in recent days is considerable in the context of China, where officials have implemented a zero-tolerance policy with the pandemic from 2020.

In recent days, at least 26 employees from three provinces have been furloughed for mismanagement during the pandemic, state media reported.

A health department official, Lei Zhenglong, told state broadcaster CCTV that more than 10,000 infections were reported in 10 provinces in March and warned that the situation “keeps developing” in many places.

In Shenzhen, “we have recorded small outbreaks in neighborhoods and factories,” Huang Qiang, a local government official, explained, before suggesting the need for “more precautions”.

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Photos shared with AFP by a resident of Shenzhen show the entrance to a residential complex blocked by large barriers.

Shares of technology companies fell on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday as concerns about the impact of the spread of the virus at the group’s headquarters in Shenzhen. Huawei and Tencent, as well as Foxconn’s largest factory.

In China’s most populous city, Shanghai, residential areas have been closed and officials are working to avoid a complete lockdown.

170 new cases of Kovid were reported in the city today.

A businessman who owns four restaurants said it was difficult to cope with the restrictions.

“Policies are different in neighborhoods,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity. “I want to close one and keep the others open, and see what happens next. What else can I do, but wait?”, he resigned himself.

In Jilin province (northeast), at least five cities have been under lockdown since early March, including the large industrial hub of Changchun, where nine million residents have been confined to their homes since Friday.

On Monday, German conglomerate Volkswagen announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it had suspended production at three factories in Changchun until Wednesday, including two factories for the VW and Audi brands, as well as an auto parts production centre. was also involved.

All three factories are jointly operated by the Chinese conglomerate FAW.

The emergence of the Omicron variant defies its harsh approach, however, at a time when most of the planet seems to be teeming with viruses.

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Virologist Zhang Wenhong defended this Monday that China still cannot relax its “Covid zero” policy, despite Omicron’s low mortality rate.

“It is very important that China continues to adopt a zero COVID strategy in the near future,” Zhang wrote on social media. “But this does not mean that we will adopt a strategy of permanent confinement and mass testing”, he said.

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

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