A spike in new COVID-19 infections in China prompted the Shanghai Mall to abruptly cancel an auto industry event on Wednesday, creating more uncertainty over plans to reopen the world’s second-largest economy.
Rising cases are testing China’s resolve to stick to recent adjustments to its COVID rules, pressuring local authorities to quell outbreaks without one-off measures such as mass lockdowns
Tuesday’s 28,883 new locally transmitted cases hovered near daily highs in April, urging authorities to increase efforts to enforce tighter restrictions to prevent more infections.
Chengdu, with 428 cases on Tuesday, became the latest city to announce mass testing from Nov. 23-27.
The capital Beijing, where 1,486 cases hit another daily record, was largely a ghost town with shopping malls, restaurants and parks closed.
City officials said Tuesday that the cases now span 16 districts and economic development zones.
Officials specifically mentioned the high cases in Beijing’s upscale Chaoyang district and urged its 3.5 million residents “not to leave the area unless necessary”.
Shanghai also announced that people could not enter places such as shopping malls and restaurants within five days of arriving in the city.
China’s major automobile association said it would cancel the second day of the China Overseas Automobile Development Summit held in Shanghai, citing the deteriorating COVID-19 situation.
“The next few weeks could be the worst in China since the early weeks of the pandemic both for the economy and the healthcare system,” said analysts at Capital Economics.
“Efforts to contain the current outbreak will, at the very least, require additional localised lockdowns in many cities, which will further depress economic activity.”
Major manufacturing hubs Chongqing and Guangzhou have seen persistently high numbers for days, accounting for most of China’s total caseload.