Photo Credit: Ryan Hesketh | Bloomberg
China’s zero-Covid policy is rearing its head in the country’s southern region. Shenzen’s largest electronics market was shut down after officials discovered Covid-infected individuals. Additionally, officials have suspended public transportation and banned travel between neighborhoods.
Huaqiangbei is one of the Futian district areas that the national health departments have closely observed. Due to the number of stalls selling computer parts, mobile parts, and microchips, the area is well known for being a hub for people looking to purchase essentials for their electronic devices.
Following the development, several locations in southern China have already been placed under mandatory lockdowns. Except for when they are undergoing Covid testing, which is done every day until Thursday, authorities forbid citizens from leaving their homes.
Consequently, businesses have suffered greatly. Businesses would suffer a loss of revenue from a four-day lockdown in the Futian district. Only vital establishments like pharmacies, hospitals, and supermarkets are operating. Other stores have been temporarily shut down. People can only order takeout because restaurants are also closed.
China’s drive to eradicate Covid
China has taken the most precautions of any country in the world when dealing with the pandemic, perhaps because the outbreak first occurred there. China’s zero-covid policy includes extensive testing, enclosing areas, imposing immediate lockdowns, using digital surveillance, and following strict protocols.
China wants to stop the virus as soon as it is discovered, and economic centers like Beijing are not exempt from this rule. Only 35 cases were necessary for the government to exert control and put a stop to all operations in Shenzen, a city of more than 18 million people. Moreover, 11 of the 35 cases that were just reported are asymptomatic.
As a result of the minor outbreak, the Luohu and Longgang districts have also been forced to close parks and other public spaces. Additionally, large crowd gatherings, performances, conferences, and other events are currently strictly forbidden, while hundreds of bus stations and a total of 24 subway stations are currently inoperable.
The new subvariant of the Omicron BF.15, which is harder to detect and spreads more quickly than its predecessors, is said to have made its way to the district, prompting Shenzen officials to express their concern about it.
“The upcoming period will be the most stressful, high-risk and grim period for epidemic prevention and control in our city.”
Many areas in China are affected by sudden outbreaks
The new Omicron variants proffered another challenge to the country’s major hubs just as the Chinese economy appeared to be getting better. Furthermore, given the nation’s commitment to a zero-Covid policy, lockdowns are predicted to happen more frequently as more infected individuals are identified.
Lockdowns in China resemble a tug-of-war. Due to the fluctuating number of cases, China was forced to impose lockdowns in Beijing on numerous occasions. For instance, the hubs would open when the number of cases decreased. However, if a case is found, the authorities will immediately enforce severe lockdown measures.
Undoubtedly, harm has been done to people, businesses, and the nation as a whole as a result of China’s ongoing enforcement of its anti-Covid protocols. In July of this year, the nation’s youth unemployment rate reached a record high.
The intense heat exacerbates the country’s problem
Because of the extreme heat that the nation is enduring, the response to Covid is more difficult than ever. Already, heat waves have devastated many areas of China, killing crops. Power shortages have also caused blackouts.
As a result, citizens had to endure the intense heat while waiting in line to receive the vaccine. In front of Covid testing facilities, throngs of people wait in long lines while braving heat waves’ scorching temperatures.
“China’s electricity demand has been incredibly flat in the past because so much of it has come from the industry, not from households or services. Now with air conditioning becoming more common, the demand is becoming higher,” said a lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.
“At the same time, rains are becoming more errant. Heavy rains and periods of drought make hydropower much less reliable as a source of available capacity during those peaks.”
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