Skip to content

China News: Covid lockdown in Shanghai sparks worries for global economy | World | News

As China continues to pursue its “zero-Covid” ambitions, coronavirus figures in Shanghai – the country’s largest city and financial capital – have seen the communist dictatorship confine citizens to their homes again. The economic impact of another gridlock raises the question of whether the country’s strategy against the virus is sustainable in the long term. With figures in the city hitting their highest level since the early days of the pandemic, officials have moved to experiment with a new type of lockdown that has divided Shanghai in two.

The east side of the Huangpu River is closed from March 28 to April 1.

Then, after testing was completed in the area, it was the western side’s turn for a four-day lockdown.

The city government said on its WeChat account on Sunday, March 27: “The public is asked to support, understand and cooperate with the city’s epidemic prevention and control work, and participate in the orderly testing of nucleic acids.”

The two-stage regime, part of a desperate attempt by officials to contain the latest wave of the coronavirus, will be China’s most widespread since Wuhan capped its population at 11 million for more than two months in 2020.

UK Covid infections mapped: Omicron levels soar – Is your area a hotspot?

But while the state’s approach has been branded a life-saver and credited with protecting the health system, it has not benefited business at all.

Oil prices fell on Monday, March 28, amid concerns that China’s weakening economy may indicate less demand for the commodity following news coming from Shanghai, where nearly 4 percent of China’s gross domestic product (DP) is made.

If the surrounding provinces are added, the region accounts for one-fifth of China’s economic output.

But according to the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, “often unexpected measures implemented overnight” to combat Covid are causing problems for 831 international companies whose regional operations center is in the city.

Tesla production, in eastern Pudong, was shut down completely by authorities on Monday morning, March 28.

The manufacturer reportedly tried to call staff into the factory to work and sleep there, as if in a closed system separated from the outside world, during the four-day lockdown.

However, electric car makers are finding there isn’t enough food supply for workers, and bringing in the necessary supplies doesn’t seem feasible.

The latest number – more than 56,000 confirmed Covid cases reported nationwide throughout March – in China is small compared to those in other parts of the world.

In the UK, for example, about one in 16 people in a private household in the UK – or 3.5 million people – may have contracted Covid in the week to March 19, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

This was up from one in 20, or 2.7 million people, the previous week and was the third week in a row in which cases are understood to have spiked.

However, in contrast to China’s zero-tolerance approach, Britons are told to live with the virus once restrictions are lifted completely.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg