BEIJING, November 24 (Reuters) – China reported record high cases of COVID-19 on Thursday; Cities across the country impose localized lockdowns, mass testing, and other restrictions that fuel frustration and darken the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy.
The resurgence of infections nearly three years after the outbreak emerged in the central city of Wuhan casts doubt on investors’ hopes that China will soon loosen its strict zero-COVID policy despite more targeted measures in the near future.
Sidewalks are negatively impacting production at factories, including the world’s largest iPhone factory, as well as residents being locked out. conflicts Among workers and security personnel in a rare demonstration of opposition.
“If things have constantly stalled, how many people have the savings to support them?” asked a 40-year-old Beijing man with the surname Wang, a manager at a foreign firm.
“And even if you have money to stay at home every day, that’s not real life.”
The streets of Chaoyang, the capital’s most populous district, have been increasingly empty this week.
Sanlitun, an upscale shopping district, was virtually silent on Thursday, except for the hum of e-bikes from delivery men carrying meals for those working from home.
Brokerage Nomura lowered its Chinese GDP forecast for the fourth quarter from 2.8% to 2.4% year-on-year and lowered its full-year growth forecast to 2.8% from 2.9%, which is China’s official target. which is well below about 5.5. % this year.
“We believe reopening will be a long process with high costs,” Nomura wrote, cutting its Chinese GDP growth forecast for next year from 4.3% to 4.0%.
While much of the world is trying to coexist with the virus, saying it’s necessary to save lives and avoid overloading the medical system, the Chinese leadership has stuck to President Xi Jinping’s signature policy of zero COVID.
Acknowledging the pressure on the economy, cabinet said China would use time interruptions State media said Wednesday there was a hint that a reduction in the required reserve ratio (RRR) in bank cash reserves and other monetary policy instruments to ensure adequate liquidity was imminent.
Wednesday’s 31,444 new local COVID-19 infections set a record on April 13, when Shanghai’s commercial hub was crippled by the city-wide lockdown of 25 million residents, which will last for two months.
This time, however, major outbreaks have spread far and wide, with the largest in the southern city of Guangzhou and southwest Chongqing, although hundreds of new infections are reported each day in cities such as Chengdu, Jinan, Lanzhou, and Xian.
Although official case numbers are low by global standards, China is trying to eliminate every chain of infection.
It has recently begun to relax some norms regarding mass testing and quarantine to avoid all-encompassing measures such as city-wide quarantines, such as in Shanghai this year.
Recently, cities have been using more localized and often unannounced deadlocks. Many in Beijing said they had recently received reports of three-day lockdowns in their residential compound.
The far northeastern city of Harbin announced on Thursday that some areas are on lockdown.
Many cities have returned to mass testing, which China hopes to reduce as costs rise. Others, including Beijing, Shanghai and Sanya on the resort island of Hainan, have limited movements of recent arrivals.
Nomura estimates that more than a fifth of China’s GDP is under quarantine, a larger share of the British economy.
“Shanghai-style total lockdowns can be avoided, but replaced by more frequent partial lockdowns in a growing number of cities due to rising COVID case numbers,” analysts wrote.
The central city of Zhengzhou, where workers at the great Foxconn are located (2317.TW) Factory that produces iPhones for Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) It has held protests, declared five days of mass testing in eight counties, and is the latest city to reinvigorate daily testing for millions of residents.
reporting by Beijing and Shanghai news centers; Written by Bernard Orr; Fiction by Tony Munroe and Clarence Fernandez
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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