Major Chinese cities, from Dalian to Shenzhen, are ramping up coronavirus restrictions

BEIJING/SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – Several Chinese cities imposed stricter restrictions on the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on Tuesday, crippling the activities of tens of millions and raising new concerns about the health of a barely growing economy.

Major cities from the southern technology hub of Shenzhen to the southwest of Chengdu and the northeastern port of Dalian have ordered measures such as lockdowns in large areas and business shutdowns aimed at stemming new outbreaks.

The recent restrictions, which will delay the start of the school year for some, reflect China’s strict adherence to a “dynamic zero COVID” policy to eliminate all outbursts.

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This insistence makes it strange as the rest of the world tries to live with the coronavirus despite the cost to the world’s second largest economy.

While many measures are initially scheduled for only a few days, any significant escalation or extension in some of China’s largest cities risks further hurting already tepid growth. Read more

While the two most populous cities, Beijing and Shanghai, have only had sporadic cases recently, coronavirus fears continue to weigh on Chinese stocks.

In a note, Nomura warned that markets could take a hit again in the next two weeks, likely leading to another round of cuts by economists on the street, highlighting the importance of cities like Shenzhen, which is also a major port.

On Tuesday, the Shenzhen District of Longhua, which has a population of 2.5 million, closed entertainment venues and wholesale markets, and suspended large events.

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Longhua District authorities said people must show evidence of negative test results within 24 hours to enter apartment complexes, and restaurants should limit customers to half capacity. The new restrictions will continue until Saturday.

The moves followed similar actions on Monday covering three other regions that affected more than 6 million in Shenzhen, which battled an outbreak of sub-variant variants of Omicron this year.

City officials have held off on full postponements for the new school year, but six parents of young children said their schools had informed them of the postponements, with many on parent chat groups expressing concern about the uncertainty.

Port City closing areas

In Dalian, a major import hub for soybeans and iron ore, the lockdown that began Tuesday is set to run through Sunday in major urban areas of about 3 million people. Families may send one person each day to shop for daily needs.

The shutdown requires that non-essential workers work from home, while manufacturing companies must cut staff on site and maintain only essential and urgent operations.

The southwestern city of Chengdu, with a population of 21 million, has ordered a blanket closure of public entertainment venues and cultural venues from Tuesday.

It had planned to delay the start of term in the fall, and had mandated residents to obtain proof of a negative test result within 24 hours for entry into certain areas.

The northern municipality of Tianjin, with a population of 13.7 million, has begun a new round of citywide coronavirus tests, its fourth since Saturday.

The city of Tianjin said it will delay the resumption of offline classes in many schools.

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In the northern city of Shijiazhuang, about a 3-1/2 hour drive from Beijing, four large districts have ordered more than 3 million people to work from home as of Wednesday afternoon, excluding those with essential jobs.

Official data showed on Tuesday that mainland China reported 1,717 locally transmitted cases of coronavirus on August 29, 349 of which were symptoms and 1,368 were asymptomatic.

Of the more than 20 places where infections were reported on Monday, Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan Province, of which Chengdu is the capital, accounted for the bulk of the daily cases.

Xining, the capital of Qinghai, with a population of 2.5 million, ordered major urban areas to close from Monday through Thursday morning, halting public transportation and restricting movement.

Cases are rising in Hong Kong, which does not have the same coronavirus prevention measures as mainland China, where government advisers expect 10,000 infections a day this week, raising fears of tightening restrictions that have just been eased.

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Additional reporting by Roxanne Liu, Ryan Wu, David Kirton and Anne-Marie Rowntree; Editing by Lincoln Fest and Clarence Fernandez

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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