China’s “zero-Covid” strategy is being put to the test as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads across the country. As cases have risen in the past week, lockdowns have been imposed on more than 30 million people. Yesterday (16 March) China’s seven-day rolling average of daily cases was 2,958, more than double what it was on Monday (14 March), according to Our World in Data.
Most of these new cases were detected in the north-eastern province of Jilin. Authorities there have banned citizens from travelling in and out of the province without informing local police. Thousands of army reservists in the province are understood to have been called up to help. At least ten other cities and region in China have been placed under strict lockdown measures, including the southeastern city of Shenzhen, home to 13 million people.
The recent outbreak in China has also raised fears of further disruption to global supply chains, as strict movement controls paralyse key manufacturing centres. In Shanghai, Tesla was reported to have halted production. There are long queues of container ships at major ports on the southern coast, and there are plans to divert Shanghai-bound flights to other domestic cities.