The Covid epidemic is worsening in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

The Covid epidemic is worsening in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

The Covid epidemic is worsening in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

The city of Guangzhou in the southern province of Guangdong was the hardest hit in the latest Covid outbreak. The picture shows closed shops in the part of the city on October 31, 2022.

Vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – Covid infections are rising in the capital of China’s export-rich Guangdong province, raising concerns about another slowdown in the national economy.

Schools in eight of Guangzhou’s 11 districts moved classes online for most students starting Thursday. In the past few days, several parts of the city have ordered people to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close.

“As things stand, it is difficult to say whether Guangzhou will repeat the experience of Shanghai in the spring of this year,” Nomura’s chief China economist Ting Lu and his team said in a note late Wednesday. “If Guangzhou repeats what Shanghai did in the spring, it will lead to a new round of pessimism in China.

Earlier this year, the metropolis of Shanghai was locked down for about two months, and wider Covid controls resulted in the nation’s second-quarter GDP growing just 0.4%, according to official data. GDP rebounded in the third quarter with growth of 3.9%.but then exports unexpectedly fell in October.

It was not immediately clear to what extent Guangzhou’s latest business restrictions have affected the factories’ ability to operate. Many manufacturers are located outside the city, but in the same province.

State-owned carmaker GAC Group said its factories in Guangzhou were operating as normal as of Thursday morning. “The epidemic did not cause a significant impact,” the company said in a statement.

The Covid epidemic is worsening in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

In just one week, the number of symptomatic Covid-19 cases in Guangdong has increased fivefold to 500 on Wednesday. During that time, asymptomatic infections rose sevenfold to about 2,500 cases.

The latest outbreak prompted the American Chamber of Commerce in China to postpone an event in Guangzhou, which had already been postponed since September, Michael Hart, the chamber’s president, said Thursday. He expects that two more chamber events in the city will be postponed this year.

“These travel impacts hurt the ability of local governments to advocate for investment,” Hart said, noting that such investment is not lost but delayed.

“I canceled more trips than I could have done,” he said.

Late autumn is a popular time for conferences and business trips to China.

Namely, Guangzhou has indefinitely postponed its auto show that was supposed to start next week. The country’s biggest auto show that Beijing was supposed to host earlier this year was never rescheduled.

More travel restrictions

“It’s probably a bigger concern [than getting sick] is what it does [travel] do with your health code in Beijing and can you come back?” Hart said, referring to the government’s smartphone app for tracking Covid exposure.

The city requires everyone entering a mall, taxi or public space to use the app. The venue can refuse entry if the application shows that the person has not had a negative Covid test result in the last three days – or has a “pop-up” which is supposed to indicate suspected contact with Covid infection.

The pop-up is preventing people from entering Beijing.

His appearances have become so frequent and somewhat unpredictable that one Chinese commentator said in a viral video that any business trip outside Beijing is a choice between family and work. The video was removed from public view as of Thursday morning.

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The Beijing Health Code app pop-up is also affecting people’s mobility within the capital, which has reported an increasing number of infections in recent days.

“In Beijing, you just assume that a certain percentage of the workforce is going to have problems with pop-ups,” Hart said, noting that virus testing requirements for some office buildings have increased to once every 24 hours. “Instead of loosening, it’s tightening in some areas.”

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