The major Chinese technology hub of Shenzhen will allow its firms to resume work in an “orderly” manner after the suspension of non-essential businesses in an effort to contain an outbreak of Covid-19, a city official said on Thursday.
Shenzhen, which is close to Hong Kong, saw local confirmed transmissions pick up to 71 on Wednesday from 55 the previous day. While the outbreak is small by international standards, authorities are leaving nothing to chance.
“On condition that the epidemic prevention and control work is done well, enterprises will resume production in an orderly way based on region and category,” said Huang Qiang, deputy-secretary general of the Shenzhen municipal government.
He did not provide details or a specific timeline.
“We should be aware that the new daily case numbers so far still remained relatively high,” he added. “There must be no loosening or slacking in virus control and prevention work.”
Shenzhen is planning to test all of its residents three times from March 14-17.
It has also suspended buses and the metro as well as all non-essential economic activity in a week-long containment programme against the Covid-19 outbreak that it described as “slow living”.
Supermarkets, pharmacies and medical institutions were among the only businesses allowed to open during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Major firms in the city are already feeling the effects. Apple supplier Foxconn plans to put its Shenzhen campus in a “Covid-19 bubble” that will allow it to resume production until at least Sunday, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.
Logistics company United Parcel Service also suspended all pickup, delivery and self pickup services in Shenzhen and neighbouring Dongguan after strict restrictions were imposed to curb the outbreak.
China’s total local symptomatic cases declined for a second consecutive day on Thursday, after a flare-up in the northeast – the worst since its first outbreak in 2020 centred on Wuhan – grew at a slower pace.
The country reported 1,226 new domestically transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms on March 16, data from the National Health Commission showed, down from 1,860 a day earlier.
That marks the fifth day of over 1,000 such cases on the mainland in the current Covid-19 outbreak.
The number of domestically transmitted new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 1,206 compared with 1,194 a day earlier.
China’s current case wave is still tiny by global standards, but national officials have warned that virus control is becoming increasingly difficult with more than two dozen regions reporting infections recently.
They called for various measures under the “dynamic” zero-Covid-19 policy to be implemented more strictly and vigilantly.
The province of Jilin reported 742 new local symptomatic infections on Wednesday, down from 1,456 the prior day.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell