November 28, 2023

Covid-related restrictions have been tightened in parts of China as local cases rise, while lighter measures such as virus testing remain in place in Shanghai, pictured here on July 3, 2022.

Kelay Shane | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING – Just days after China eased some of its Covid controls, cases of the virus in various parts of the country have put new regions on alert.

The number of cities imposing local movement restrictions more than doubled in a week to 11 as of Monday, compared with five cities in the previous week, according to Ting Lu, Nomura’s chief China economist.

Nomura said the latest measures affect regions that account for about 14.9% of China’s GDP, up from 10.1% the previous week.

The number of daily Covid cases in mainland China, including those without symptoms, has risen from a handful of cases to about 200 or 300 new cases in the past several days. Most of them are asymptomatic.

Many new cases in the area around Shanghai. The nearby city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province said late Saturday that bars and gyms will do so need to shut down temporarily, While restaurants can only serve takeaway.

Last week, there was a much smaller area called Si District in neighboring Anhui Province Residents were ordered to stay at home, and only leave at designated times for virus screening.

In June, Beijing and Shanghai tried to resume normal business after weeks of restrictions that kept children out of schools and many restaurants essentially closed. The southeastern city of Shanghai was the hardest hit and was closed in April and May.

Last week, mainland China cut short the quarantine period for international travelers and close contacts of Covid cases. The country has also changed a nationwide travel system that would theoretically make it easier to move within the country.

The number of daily Covid cases in Beijing and Shanghai has fallen to either one or zero in the past several days.

“Markets could become somewhat complacent if they ignore the recovery of virus cases and underestimate the costs of ongoing virus containment measures,” Nomura’s Lu said in a report on Monday.

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In addition to the new cases on the mainland in economic powers such as Jiangsu Province, Lu pointed to the spread of Covid in neighboring economies – evidenced by the surging case number in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s daily average of more than 100 new deaths in the past week.

Mainland China has not reported new deaths from Covid in weeks.

“We have been in an upward phase of the ‘Covid Business Cycle (CBC) in China since late May, thanks to a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, lifting of lockdowns and other easing of the Zero Covid Strategy (ZCS)’ restrictions and stimulus measures.” “However, another wave of Omicron could lead to a return to the downside phase, although the timing of such an occurrence is uncertain.”

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