Covid outbreak worsens in southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

Guangzhou, in the southern province of Guangdong, has been hit hardest by the latest Covid outbreak. The picture shows closed shops in some parts of the city on October 31, 2022.

Vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – A surge in Covid-19 infections in the capital of China’s export-rich Guangdong province is raising fears that the national economy is once again undermining the national economy.

Schools in eight of Guangzhou’s 11 districts have moved classes online for most students since Thursday. In recent days, many parts of the city have ordered people to stay at home and ordered non-essential businesses to close.

“All things considered, it’s hard to say whether Guangzhou will repeat Shanghai’s experience this spring,” Ting Lu, Nomura’s chief China economist, and his team said in a statement late Wednesday. “If Guangzhou repeats what Shanghai did in the spring, it will create a new pessimism about China.”

National GDP grew just 0.4 percent in the second quarter as the metropolis of Shanghai was locked down for nearly two months earlier this year and broader Covid-19 controls were put in place, official data showed. GDP bounced back with 3.9% growth in the third quarter, but then exports suddenly fell in October.

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It’s unclear how much of Guangzhou’s recent business restrictions have affected factories’ ability to operate. Many manufacturers are located outside the city but in the same state.

State-owned automaker GAC Group said factories in Guangzhou were operating normally as of Thursday morning. The company said in a statement that “the outbreak did not have a significant impact.”


As of Wednesday, the number of symptomatic Covid-19 cases in Guangdong had quintupled to 500 in a week. During this period, the number of asymptomatic infections increased sevenfold to about 2,500 cases.

The latest outbreak has prompted the American Chamber of Commerce in China to postpone an event in Guangzhou that had been postponed since September, chamber president Michael Hart said Thursday. He hopes to delay two chamber events in the city this year.

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“These impacts from tourism are hurting the ability of local governments to invest,” Hart said, noting that such investment has not been lost, but has been delayed.

“I’ve canceled more trips than I can handle,” he said.

Late autumn is a popular time for conferences and business trips in China.

It is noteworthy that Guangzhou has indefinitely postponed its auto show, which was supposed to start next week. The country’s biggest auto show, which was supposed to be held in Beijing earlier this year, was never postponed.

Additional travel restrictions

“Maybe more of a concern [than getting sick] is what is done [travel] Do the Beijing Health Code and you can come back?” Hart said, referring to the government’s smartphone app for tracking Covid exposure.

The municipality requires everyone entering malls, taxis and public areas to use the app. If a person has not tested negative for Covid within the last three days or has a ‘pop-up window’ indicating that they may be infected with Covid, they may be refused entry.

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Pop-ups prevent people from accessing Beijing.

His appearances have become so frequent and somewhat unpredictable that one Chinese commentator said in a widely circulated video that every business trip outside Beijing was a choice between family and work. The video was removed from public view by Thursday morning.

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The pop-up of Beijing’s health code program is affecting the movement of citizens in the capital, where the number of infections has increased in recent days.

“You’d imagine a certain percentage of the workforce in Beijing would have a problem with pop-ups,” Hart said, noting that some office buildings are now required to test for viruses once every 24 hours. “It’s getting tighter in some areas instead of loosening.”

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