May 18, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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China: Limited cities and factories closed due to the spread of COVID-19

China: Limited cities and factories closed due to the spread of COVID-19

Beijing | In Shenzhen, a tech hub in southern China, 17 million people were locked down on Monday due to a record rise in COVID-19 cases, which forced the iPhone manufacturing plant to cease operations, while sanctions were imposed in other major cities. Country including Shanghai.

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Shenzhen authorities imposed new controls on Sunday after an outbreak of the virus appeared in neighboring Hong Kong, where the virus causes many deaths.

Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, Apple’s major supplier, announced on Monday that it was suspending operations at its largest factory, Shenzhen, as the embargo disrupted local manufacturing operations.

Foxconn, which employs tens of thousands of workers in the city, said it had transferred its product to other sites.

Shenzhen is one of ten cities in China located in Lockdown, which also affects major centers such as Dalian, Nanjing and Tianjin near Beijing.

Authorities on Monday identified 2,300 new cases nationwide. The day before, nearly 3,400 people had been counted, the highest number since the outbreak began.

This is particularly the case in China, where authorities have continued since 2020 to apply a “zero Kovid” approach to combating the epidemic, if the number of cases is low compared to other countries.

In recent days, state media have reported that at least 26 officers from three provinces have been fired for mismanagement.

A health official, Lee Zhenglong, warned on state channel CCTV that more than 10,000 pollutants had been detected in ten provinces in March and that the situation was “still developing” in many places.

In Shenzhen, “there is a very small spread in neighborhoods and factories,” local government official Huang Qiang told a news conference Monday that “more precautions” need to be taken.


Photos shared with Shenzhen resident AFP showed entrances to the closed residential compound as people joked on social media about how everyone rushed to the office to collect their laptops before being detained.

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On Monday, technology stocks fell on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, along with Foxconn, the headquarters of technology flagships such as Shenzhen Hosting, Huawei and Tencent.

In Shanghai, the most populous city in China, residential areas were cordoned off despite authorities trying to prevent a general lockdown.

The city reported 170 new cases Monday, a sign of concern, according to financial sources.

He shared his hardships with the restrictions of a restaurant with four establishments in different neighborhoods. “Policies vary depending on the neighborhood,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity. “I want to close one and keep the rest open and see how it goes. What can I do but hold on? “

“Following the Zero-Kovid Strategy”

Elsewhere the situation is even more complicated. In the northeastern province of Jilin, at least five cities in the province have been cordoned off since early March, with nine million residents confined to their homes since Friday, including the large industrial center Changchun.

On Monday, the German Volkswagen Group announced that it had suspended production on Wednesday at three sites in Changchun, including two factories of VW and Audi brands, as well as a production site, due to the spread of COVID-19 cases. All three are working in partnership with Chinese group FAW.

So far, China has been able to control the spread of the disease through local lockdowns, mass screenings, and tracking apps as the country’s borders are virtually closed.

But the performance of the Omicron variant shows the limitations of this approach at a time when many other countries have chosen to live with the virus and the population is facing fatigue and the contagion of Omicron.

Prestigious virologist Zhang Wenhang predicted on Monday that despite the low mortality rate with Omicron, the time has not yet come to relax the “Zero-Kovid” approach.

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“It is very important for China to follow the Kovid-Zero strategy in the near future,” Zhang wrote on social media.

“But that doesn’t mean we’re going to permanently follow the strategy of control and mass screening,” he added.

Zero COVID-19 strategy at the time of borrowing?

Since the first wave of COVID-19 two years ago, the Omicron race has been putting more pressure on China’s coronavirus strategy than ever before. Since China will have to detain millions again, how long can it maintain its zero COVID-19 policy?

China-style Zero COVID-19 approach, what is it?

As soon as COVID-19 cases appear, authorities take control measures for a wide range of infected individuals and their environment. Whole neighborhoods can distance themselves from the world overnight.

During the early wave of early 2020, nearly 60 million people were detained in Hubei Province for more than two months.

With the arrival of Omicron, entire cities confined themselves, especially at the gates of the Shenzhen metropolis, Hong Kong. Its 17 million residents have been forced to stay home since Sunday.

Nationwide, tracing applications make it possible to quickly locate contact cases and lock them if necessary.

It is not uncommon for a shopping mall, high school, leisure park or office building to be blocked at any moment after a contact case is discovered. And the people concerned stayed inside waiting for hours and days for their screening test results.

At the same time, China practically closed its borders in March 2020, reducing international flights to a minimum.

What are the results?

According to official figures, China registered just 115,000 pollution cases in two years, of which 4,636 were deaths. Some of the balance sheets accumulated in the rest of the world.

The communist regime sees it as a confirmation of its authoritarian political system and its media widely covers the catastrophic health condition of its great American rival.

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If Beijing changes its policy, it should start by changing the perception of the virus in the population. A dangerous exercise for President Xi Jinping, who wants to be re-appointed as head of the ruling party later this year and presents himself as the man who saved China from epidemic.

How much does it cost for the country?

Locking down entire areas, especially highly industrialized areas, is severely damaging supply chains, including internationally.

All sectors, such as tourism, transportation or catering, continue to suffer from sanctions. Millions of migrant workers are also stranded in their province, unable to return to work.

In addition to the financial cost, the human cost is high. Many limited residents complained about supply problems.

Earlier in the year, a drama of a woman having an abortion at the hospital door shook social networks. Her final test was invalid and she was not admitted to the hospital.

Rare voices calling for a change in policy have been branded as traitors to the motherland on social media. But things can change.

How long?

Earlier this month, eminent epidemiologist Zheng Guang was of the opinion that Zero COVID-19 strategy should never be on the agenda and that we call for “symbiosis” with the virus.

He pointed out that in the absence of pollution, the population has achieved herd immunity only through vaccines, and the country maintains only nationally manufactured products for its citizens.

But the lack of congestion and hospital beds in China and the easing of precautionary measures could lead to “massive pollution,” researchers at Peking University warned in late 2021.

Chinese authorities are closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, where hospitals are struggling to cope with the recent outbreak.

The semi-autonomous territory off the coast of China now has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the world.