Beijing restricts public transportation as COVID spreads in China

  • Beijing closes more than 60 metro stations and 158 bus lines
  • Zhengzhou to impose severe COVID restrictions next week
  • Shanghai is finding it difficult to break out of the month-long lockdown

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s capital Beijing on Wednesday shut down dozens of metro stations and bus lines in its drive to stem the spread of COVID-19 and avert the fate of Shanghai, where millions of residents are under a strict lockdown. for more than a month.

China’s relentless battle against the coronavirus, which is believed to have emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019, is undermining its growth and hurting international companies investing there, according to the latest forecasts and data.

The central city of Zhengzhou, home to 12.6 million people and Apple’s iPhone manufacturing factory Foxconn (2354.TW)announced work-from-home and other COVID restrictions for the next week late Tuesday, joining dozens of major cities under some form of lockdown.

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Service providers said the capital has shut down more than 60 subway stations, about 15% of the network, and 158 bus lines. Most of the stations and suspended roads are located in Chaoyang District, the epicenter of the outbreak in Beijing.

With dozens of new cases a day, Beijing is trying to avoid a full lockdown, as Shanghai also did initially, hoping instead that mass testing will detect and isolate the virus before it spreads.

The city of 22 million people has closed schools, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues, as well as some businesses and apartment buildings in high-risk areas. Read more

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In what would be a worrying sign for Beijing residents, workers in protective gear were seen building a two-meter-high blue metal wall around an apartment complex, with a sign at the gate reading “Enter only. No exit.”

Twelve of Beijing’s 16 districts have conducted the second round of three rounds of testing this week, after they conducted three checks last week.

In Shanghai, there is no end in sight to the lockdown.

More than a month later, most people in mainland China’s largest city are still barred from leaving their apartment complexes.

Some residents have benefited from a temporary easing of precautions since Sunday, when usually only one family member is allowed to go out for a quick walk and shop for groceries.

The latest data showed that Shanghai found 63 new cases outside the areas under severe restrictions, indicating that it has a long way to go before reaching the goal of no cases for several days to significantly ease restrictions.

The isolation has fueled rare outbursts of resentment, with social media users playing a game of cat and mouse with censors to keep evidence of hardship circulating.

Some have turned to blockchain technology to protect videos, photos, and artwork on the topic from deletion. Read more

Such acts of defiance are embarrassing for the ruling Communist Party in a sensitive year in which President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a third term in office.

Authorities say the zero COVID policy aims to save as many lives as possible, pointing to the millions of COVID deaths outside of China, as many countries abandon precautions to “live with COVID” even as the infection spreads.

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But the policy is hurting domestic consumption and factory production, disrupting key global supply chains and slashing revenue for some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Apple. (AAPL.O)father of Gucci Keyring (PRTP.PA) And the owner of Taco Bell Yum China (9987.HK). Read more

Capital Economics estimates that COVID has spread to regions that generate 40% of China’s production and 80% of its exports.

“Recent mobility trends indicate that China’s growth momentum deteriorated significantly in April, with traffic congestion, subway passenger volumes, and other high-frequency indicators at their weakest since…early 2020,” credit ratings agency Fitch said in a note.

Fitch cut its growth forecast for 2022 to 4.3%, from 4.8%, well below China’s official target of 5.5%.

Starbucks Corporation (SBUX.O) On Tuesday, it said its sales in China, where the chain has expanded rapidly in recent years, fell 23%, overshadowing 12% growth in North America. Read more

Foxconn said on Wednesday it was continuing production in Zhengzhou. Read more

Several factories have been closed after Shanghai was closed from March. While some are beginning to reopen, restoring workers, while dealing with faltering supply chains, has proven difficult. Read more

Shanghai authorities helped Tesla (TSLA.O) It moved more than 6,000 workers and carried out disinfection work to reopen its factory last month, according to a letter Tesla sent to officials seen by Reuters. Read more

In Shanghai’s Lingang Free Trade Zone, 252 companies, or 52% of businesses there, have resumed business as of May 3.

It added that authorities have been supporting screening workers for COVID, offering hundreds of millions of yuan in rent relief, and assigning officials to help implement COVID measures.

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International trade is also facing turmoil.

A study by Royal Bank of Canada analysts found that a fifth of the global fleet of container ships are stuck in ports. Read more

And in the port of Shanghai, 344 ships were waiting to dock, an increase of 34% from last month. They said it takes 74 days longer than usual to ship something from one warehouse in China to another in the US.

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Reporting on Aizhou Chen, He Xiang Ming, Brenda Goh and the Beijing and Shanghai offices; Written by Marius Zacharia. Editing by Robert Persell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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