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China Clamps Down on COVID-19 Cases, Millions Trapped in Lockdowns Before Winter

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: November 2, 2022
A health worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus on a street in the Jing'an district in Shanghai, on Nov. 1, 2022. (Image: Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

In recent weeks, Chinese cities have been placed under lockdown once again as COVID-19 cases rise, impacting several economic sectors.

Another wave of the pandemic threatens to prompt a new heavy response from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with more mass testing and restrictions.

Pre-winter lockdowns

On Oct. 30, COVID-19 cases in China rose close to 3,000, more than the 2,000 cases recorded the day before. The rising numbers have prompted authorities to bolster Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, which has continued to hinder the country’s economy and trap much of its civilian population.

Cases were rising in cities like Datong, Nanjing and Wuhan, causing lockdowns to be implemented and prompting authorities to rush to take action. Datong, in particular, reported 288 cases from Oct. 27 to 30, causing authorities to tighten transportation and industrial services.

Lu Dongliang, secretary of the Municipal Party Committee of Datong, reportedly raced back to the city from last week’s party congress to deal with the “dire situation in the city.” 

Guangzhou was hit with 1,110 cases between Oct. 24 to 30, with several districts closed off. This threatens to plunge the city into another gruelling lockdown. On Nov. 1, the city saw another 190 confirmed cases along with 289 asymptomatic infections.

“This round of local outbreak has been spreading into Guangzhou through airports, seaports, railways, freight buses and passenger cars,” Zhang Yi, deputy director of the Guangzhou Health Commission, said.

“Furthermore, those who tested positive worked in various jobs, and they had complicated routes that included urban villages, internet bars, hospitals, schools and large supermarkets.”

On Oct. 31, Shanghai Disney’s resort suddenly halted operations and closed down, trapping visitors inside until they test negative for the virus. They will need to be tested three times in three days, the Shanghai government said.


Production fiasco

In Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, hundreds of workers from a factory belonging to Foxconn, an Apple supplier based in Taiwan, fled the area amidst reported poor protection measures and management. This came after a lockdown was placed on the factory in mid-October.

Chinese social media showed videos of workers climbing over fences and carrying their belongings along the roadside.

Following the workers’ departure, Zhengzhou officials announced that the restrictions would be removed and production would resume. On its WeChat account, Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant declared that it would provide a bonus of 400 Chinese yuan ($55) per day for those who remained in the plant, with additional bonuses of up to 15,000 Chinese yuan if they achieve full attendance in November, Channel News Asia reported.

China also saw its property market drop in October, showing that prices and sales for homes were sinking due to the COVID-19 curbs. 

Even Beijing’s electric vehicle manufacturers like Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto were hit hard by a combination of disruptions caused by the pandemic, and Elon Musk’s Tesla is slashing prices of its Shanghai-made vehicles.

The three car makers were already hit hard by the lockdowns in Shanghai and in the northeastern Jilin province between March and May. Tesla also made the decision to cut its prices as it expanded its production line in its factory in Shanghai.