Hopes that the CCP might be easing its Shanghai lockdown were dashed this week as authorities loosened restrictions for manufacturers and others businesses, while mostly keeping restrictions on residential areas intact.
Instead of winding down restrictions in Shanghai, authorities are now scrambling to suppress an outbreak in Beijing which they believe may have been spreading for as long as a week. The capital city reported 22 new local cases on Sunday, its highest daily tally this year.
While the number of new cases would be considered inconsequential anywhere else, authorities have placed part of Beijing under high alert, cancelling classes in a middle school where cases were detected, with the shutdown expectected to last for at least a week.
As authorities mobilized to try and curb the spread with mass testing, which has helped to scare locals into bracing for a lockdown, spurring sudden runs on grocery stores and other businesses.
After masstesting was announced for the central Chaoyang district, photos of empty grocery store shelves flooded social media.
Chaoyang is the biggest district in Beijing and is home to nearly 3.5 million people.
Stock up, Beijing today.
After mass Covid testing was announced for the central Chaoyang district this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/OPq1NhrJiT
— Tong Bingxue 仝冰雪 (@tongbingxue) April 24, 2022
Locals will be required to take three PCR tests during the coming week.
Anxious vibe in #Beijing Chaoyang area where 4 mn people (incl me & my family) worry a lockdown is coming. Mass testing for everyone & long lines + empty shelves at stores. Officials assure a ‘stable’ food supply but we’ve been stockpiling for days. @NBCNews (vid @freddufour_DOP) pic.twitter.com/c0RbfKXsmn
— Janis Mackey Frayer (@janisfrayer) April 24, 2022
On Friday, the city pledged to make “every effort” to deal with provide adequate food supplies, but truck drivers have already been hindered by multiple checkpoints and virus tests, leading to long waits.
But Beijing isn’t the only Chinese city facing Shaghai-style lockdowns. City leaders met Saturday evening in Hangzhou, a technology hub best known to westerners as the home of Alibaba, to discuss how they plan to respond after more than 100 new cases were detected in the city since Tuesday.
In other COVID news, Bloomberg reported Sunday that Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou, situated in the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone that hosts Foxconn’s iPhone City campus, will continue operating despite the surrounding city facing an indefinite lockdown.
It goes without saying that a major lockdown in Beijing would have a massive impact on China’s economy, which has seen growth shrivel in the face of the lockdown in Shanghai.