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Virus lockdowns hit China’s economic powerhouse, Guangzhou

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BEIJING – A spate of Covid-19 cases has led to lockdowns in the southern China manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, adding to financial pressures that have disrupted global supply chains and boosted growth in the world’s second-largest economy delayed.

Residents in districts with nearly 5 million people have been ordered to stay at home at least until Sunday, with one family member allowed to go out once a day to buy supplies, local authorities said Wednesday.

The order came after the densely populated city of 13 million people reported more than 2,500 new cases in the past 24 hours. According to state media, public transport has been suspended and classes have been halted in much of Guangzhou, while flights to Beijing and other major cities have been cancelled.

China has maintained its strict “zero Covid” policy despite relatively low numbers of cases and no new deaths.

The country’s borders remain largely closed, and internal travel and trade are fraught with ever-changing quarantine regulations.

The strict restrictions have occasionally sparked clashes between residents and local Communist Party officials, who are threatened with penalties if reported cases in their jurisdiction rise above acceptable levels.

The party led by President Xi Jinping has rejected calls from the United Nations World Health Organization to relax regulations, has refused to import foreign vaccines and has requested more information about the source of the virus, which is the first to be released. was discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

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