Zero COVID Means Zero Chance Of China "Reopening"
The latest wave of COVID infections in China would seem to make one thing clear above all else: Zero COVID is here to stay in China, come what may.
With new cases turning up in Beijing itself, new travel restrictions in and out of the city are being imposed in an effort to stop community spread of the disease.
People travelling into Beijing will be required to do daily tests in the first three days of their stay, and wait for the results before being allowed to leave their homes or accommodation, city government spokesperson Xu Hejian told the same briefing.
The new rules are creating one of the most complex and challenging lockdown scenarios in China since the pandemic began in 2020, according to Liu Xiaofeng, the deputy director of Beijing's municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The lockdowns are sure to be quite damaging to the local Beijing economy, as they are having the net effect of turning China’s capital into a veritable ghost town.
In Beijing, streets are emptier than before as non-essential businesses including gyms and pet supply stores in some areas have been ordered to shut, some with security tape pulled across the doors. Heavy pollution has also kept most residents indoors and most vehicles on the roads were delivery riders in their prominent blue or yellow jackets, wrapped up against the early winter chill.
Restaurants are being closed, and many office complexes are seeing reduced staffing levels as people are told not to come to work.
Meanwhile, the city of Guangzhou locked down its Baiyun district, the most populated district in the city with over 3.7 million residents.
The southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou locked down its largest district Monday as it tries to tamp down a major COVID-19 outbreak, suspending public transit and requiring residents to present a negative test if they want to leave their homes.
The lockdowns could not come at a worse time for China, which has seen its overall exports drop 0.3% year on year during October, but also has had exports to the US decline 12.6% year on year in October, after an 11.6% decline year on year in September.
Despite the upcoming holiday shopping season, Chinese exports to the US were down by 12.6 per cent year on year to US$47 billion in October, compounding the 11.6 per cent fall in September, according to detailed Chinese customs data released on Sunday.
Most ominously for the Christmas shopping season, shipments of smartphones to the US declined by 580,000 month on month in October—a decline driven at least in part by the lockdown of the largest iPhone plant in Zhengzhou.
With not even the need to resuscitate China’s collapsing economy able to stand against the Zero COVID protocols, regardless of any talk or rumors about China “reopening”, the reality is that, so long as there are COVID cases, there will be a Zero COVID policy in place in China. To do otherwise would require Beijing to endure a nationwide surge in cases, symptomatically ill patients, and COVID deaths—and a realization that Xi Jinping fundamentally lied to the Chinese people about COVID.
China can’t “reopen” its economy. Xi Jinping does not dare let it.
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