China expands COVID restrictions, Apple factory riots add to economic concerns

China expands COVID restrictions, Apple factory riots add to economic concerns
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  • COVID restrictions increase as cases rise
  • Riots at iPhone factory add to worries about the economy and underscore frustrations
  • Analysts warn of the possibility of broader lockdowns

BEIJING, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Chinese cities on Wednesday imposed more restrictions to stem the rise in coronavirus cases, adding to investor concerns about the economy as fresh unrest at the iPhone plant The world’s largest highlighted the social and industrial cost of the stringent COVID-19 pandemic in China. measures.

In Beijing, shopping malls and parks have been shuttered and once-bustling areas of the capital have resembled ghost towns as authorities urged people to stay home. Shanghai has banned recent arrivals from restaurants and other venues, and many cities have imposed localized lockdowns as infections neared peaks seen in April.

The measures are clouding the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy and dampening hopes that China will significantly ease its atypical COVID policy any time soon.

“While there is little chance that authorities will choose to backtrack on the zero-COVID policy over the winter, there is a significant risk that containment efforts will fail,” Capital Economics analysts wrote. Such a failure could result in more lockdowns that would cause unprecedented damage to the economy, the analysts added.

China’s COVID restrictions, the strictest in the world, have fueled widespread discontent and disrupted production at manufacturers including Taiwan’s Foxconn. (2317.TW)the largest iPhone supplier to Apple Inc.

On Wednesday, scenes posted on social media showed Foxconn workers breaking down barriers and fighting with the authorities in hazmat suits, chanting “give us our pay.” The unrest follows weeks of unrest in which dozens of employees left the factory over COVID checks.

Towns accounting for nearly a fifth of China’s total GDP under some form of lockdown or restrictions, brokerage Nomura estimated earlier this week, a figure that would exceed the GDP of the British economy.


Despite infection numbers being low by global standards, China has maintained its zero-COVID approach, a signature policy of President Xi Jinping that officials say saves lives and prevents the medical system from being overwhelmed. As of Tuesday, there were 28,883 new cases transmitted nationwide, official data showed.

The International Monetary Fund urged China to further recalibrate its COVID-19 strategy and boost vaccination rates

“Although the zero-COVID strategy has become more agile over time, the combination of more contagious COVID variants and persistent vaccine gaps have led to the need for more frequent lockdowns, weighing on consumption and investment. private,” said Gita Gopinath, an IMF official.

Residents are growing fed up with nearly three years of restrictions, and Wednesday’s protest at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou comes weeks after the crowds. shockcrashed through barriers and collided with workers dressed in hazmat suits in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Rising case numbers are also testing China’s resolve to avoid one-size-fits-all measures, such as mass lockdowns to curb outbreaks, and relying on the newly modified COVID. rules instead.

However, unofficial lockdowns have increased, including in residential buildings and complexes in Beijing, where the number of cases hit a new high on Tuesday.

In Shanghai, a city of 25 million people that was locked down for two months earlier this year, China’s main auto association said tuesday would cancel the second day of the China Overseas Automotive Development Summit being held there over COVID concerns.

Chengdu, with 428 cases on Tuesday, became the latest city to announce mass testing.

The major manufacturing hubs of Chongqing and Guangzhou have seen persistently high infection numbers, accounting for the lion’s share of China’s case numbers. Cases in Guangzhou fell slightly on Tuesday to 7,970 and authorities said infections continue to be concentrated in key areas of Haizhu district.

Investors who had hoped last week that China would ease restrictions soon have worried that the latest wave of infections could delay the economic reopening. read more Many analysts say a significant reopening before March or April is unlikely.

“The next few weeks could be the worst in China since the first weeks of the pandemic for both the economy and the health system,” said analysts at Capital Economics.

Reporting from Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Written by Bernard Orr; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Miral Fahmy and Tony Munroe

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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