Two of China’s largest cities, Shenzhen and Shanghai, imposed stringent restrictions on Sunday on the movements of their residents, as a Covid-19 outbreak continued to spread across China’s mainland despite their “zero tolerance” strategy.
“Zero tolerance” requires quarantines and lockdowns on entire communities and sometimes even cities when as few as a handful of cases have been detected. Chinese officials credit the approach — along with a vaccination rate of more than 80% — with helping prevent a major nationwide outbreak, but critics say it is taking a major toll on the economy and preventing the population from building up natural immunity.
While China still has far fewer cases than most countries, the daily count of known infections has accelerated rapidly. The country’s National Health Commission reported 3,122 new cases on Sunday, up from 1,524 on Saturday and 1,100 on Friday. The average number of new cases has reached 1,370 per day over the past week, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong that is the hub of China’s tech sector and electronics manufacturing industries, announced on Sunday night a lockdown for the next seven days. All nonessential workers must stay home, adults must undergo three P.C.R. tests in the coming days, and buses and subway trains are being halted. Supermarkets, farmers’ markets, pharmacies, medical institutions and express delivery services will be allowed to stay open.
A lockdown in Shenzhen might further disrupt global supply chains, because Shenzhen has one of the world’s largest ports. An outbreak in Shenzhen in late spring of last year held up port operations and caused a steep spike in global shipping rates that helped drive up prices for imported goods in the United States and elsewhere.
China has tried to keep ports running during outbreaks since then by requiring many port workers to live at the docks for weeks at a time. The municipal lockdown order on Sunday evening did not specifically exempt port workers, but port management companies have argued in the past that their workers are essential.
Information sourced from here.