China closes world’s largest electronics market in Shenzhen as Covid cases rise
China’s Shenzhen tech hub on Monday ordered the world’s largest electronics wholesale market to shut down to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the southern city, amid a call from a major think tank Chinese for a change in the country’s “zero-COVID” policy. which he said was causing widespread business disruption.
Traders in Huaqiangbei District, home to the world’s largest electronics market, received an official notice that the market will be closed until Thursday to contain the spread of COVID.
All tenants are required to work from home during the period and take a nucleic acid test every day, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said, citing one of the district’s largest operators, Huaqiang. Electronics World.
Major manufacturing companies, including telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co, China’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group, have been ordered to follow a “closed-loop” system for a week that restricted employee traffic while keeping their production schedules on track.
The new virus cluster emerged as Hong Kong, which is close to Shenzhen, reported a sharp rise in cases. Hong Kong recorded 8,488 new cases on Monday, the second such large spread of COVID-19 in recent months.
Cases could peak at 20,000 next month, a government pandemic adviser warned on Monday, according to the report.
The former British colony experienced the worst outbreak a few months ago, causing many deaths.
So far, Hong Kong has recorded 1,522,460 cases and 9,668 deaths.
Recently, thousands of tourists were stranded for days when China closed the biggest resort of Sanya in Hainan, canceling flights and transport services to contain the spread of the Omicron variant, which Beijing continues to find difficult to contain.
China’s most modern industrial city of Shenzhen itself has faced several shutdowns in the recent past to deal with sudden virus spikes.
On Sunday, China reported 301 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the country, including 161 in Sichuan province, the National Health Commission reported on Monday.
A total of 1,255 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified on Sunday, including 570 in Tibet and 98 in Hainan, the commission said in its report.
So far, 5,226 people have died from the virus in China.
Periodic COVID-19 shutdowns, including the shutdown of China’s largest city, Shanghai a few months ago, have severely affected supply chains for industrialized goods in the world’s second-largest economy.
In Beijing, all residents are currently undergoing mandatory testing three days a week to ensure proper checks on periodic spikes.
The zero COVID-19 policy was to continue until the congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CPC) is held once every five years.
The meeting at which Chinese President Xi Jinping was widely expected to be nominated for an unprecedented third term was to be held in the coming months.
Unlike his predecessors who retired after two five-year terms, Xi, 69, was expected to stay in power for another term and possibly for life.
The closure of the electronic hub was declared as a Chinese think tank called for a change in the country’s zero COVID-19 policy, saying it was widely disrupting trade and business.
In a rare public critique of the “zero-COVID” policy pursued by Xi, a Chinese think tank said on Sunday that virus curbs leading to periodic city closures disrupting trade, travel and industry must change to prevent an economic downturn.
Research center Anbound said the government should focus on bolstering declining growth, noting that the United States, Europe and Japan are recovering economically after easing anti-disease measures.
Preventing the risk of economic stall should be the priority task,” the think tank said in a report titled It’s time for China to adjust its virus control and prevention policies.
Rarely does a think tank publicly disagree with the politics of the CCP and its leader.
On Monday, Shenzhen, the city of 17 million people, ordered the closure of all businesses except essential businesses, such as supermarkets, restaurants and pharmacies.
Restaurants are only allowed to offer take-out food. All catering services have been suspended.
Shenzhen, which successfully contained the COVID-19 outbreak in March after a week-long lockdown, has been hailed as a model of effective governance as Beijing attempts to balance its zero-COVID-19 policy with maintaining economic activities.
The latest measures, however, show the challenge China faces in trying to walk a fine line between two largely conflicting goals, according to the report.
Premier Li Keqiang visited Shenzhen earlier this month and urged the city to lead by example in “injecting new dynamism” into stabilizing development and growth.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)