Chengdu, one of China’s biggest cities with more than 21 million people, was put on lockdown on Thursday to stop the rising number of Omicron-driven Covid-19 cases. This made me think of the terrible lockdown in Shanghai that happened just a few months ago.
Residents were told not to leave their homes starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday until they heard otherwise. The epidemic is thought to have started in a swimming pool at a gym and a water park.
On Wednesday, 106 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were found in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and 51 infections were found to be asymptomatic. The city also put together a list of 381 high- and medium-risk areas.
The state-run Global Times reported on Thursday that “each home can arrange for one person to go out once a day to buy daily necessities with the negative nucleic acid certificate within 24 hours.”
Since Shanghai, Chengdu is the biggest city in China that has been put on lockdown. At this point, it is not clear if the restrictions will be lifted on Sunday after the four rounds of Covid-19 tests are done. “The situation is really dangerous, and the epidemic is spreading very quickly,” local officials said in the GT report.
Flight Master data show that the number of flights to and from Chengdu has dropped by a lot. As of 10 a.m. local time on Thursday, 398 flights had been cancelled at the Shuangliu Airport in Chengdu. This is a 62% cancellation rate. Reuters says that 725 flights, or 79%, were cancelled at the Tianfu Airport in Chengdu.
Targeted Covid-19 containment rules are being put on millions of people in China, especially in big cities like Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Dalian in the Guangdong province in the south.
A report released on Wednesday by Nomura, a global financial services group, says that the recent spread of Omicron to large cities like Chengdu in the west, Shenzhen in the south, Shijiazhuang in the east, and Tianjin in the north (very close to Beijing) may have an effect on business activity in both the manufacturing and services sectors. But as summer winds down, the heat wave is likely to get better.
China is the only other large economy that still has the strict zero-COvid policy in place. China’s methods of mass testing, corporate closures, sudden lockdowns, and travel bans slow GDP by stopping economic activity.
Beijing has hardened its position before the important 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 16.