Zero-Covid: China shuts down Huaqiangbei electronics market as Shenzhen imposes more lockdowns

Huaqiangbei, a busy shopping area with thousands of stalls selling computer components, mobile phone components and microchips, is among three neighborhoods subject to a four-day mandatory lockdown in Futian district, according to the government. district.

Residents in those neighborhoods are prohibited from leaving their homes except for Covid tests, which they are required to do daily until Thursday.

All businesses in the affected areas will be closed through Thursday, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals. Food service at the restaurant is also suspended, only take-out food is allowed.

China is one of the last places in the world that still enforces strict zero-Covid measures, relying on comprehensive digital surveillance, mass testing, mass quarantine, and rapid lockdown.

On Tuesday, Shenzhen, an international technology hub of 18 million people, reported just 35 infections, including 11 asymptomatic.

The heavy-handed approach has seen dozens of neighborhoods across Shenzhen identified as “high-risk areas” and placed under strict lockdown orders. Video shared by residents on social media shows metal barriers – some covered with barbed wire – erected outside residential buildings, preventing residents from leaving.

Luohu and Longgang counties also closed all entertainment venues and public parks, and banned gatherings from conferences and performances to dancing on the square.

Authorities have also suspended service at 24 subway stations and hundreds of bus stations throughout Shenzhen, including around the Huaqiangbei electronics market.
At a press conference on Monday, Shenzhen officials speak The outbreak is mainly driven by the new Omicron BF.15 subvariable, which they say is more contagious and harder to detect.

“The coming period will be the most stressful, high-risk and grim period for epidemic prevention and control in our city,” a Shenzhen official told a news conference.

Huaqiangbei shopping district in Shenzhen is home to the world's largest wholesale electronics market.

Outbreaks across China

China’s zero-Covid strategy has faced increasing challenges from the highly infectious variant of Omicron, with large areas of the country subject to lockdowns and daily testing.

The unending restrictions have affected daily life and dealt a heavy blow to the slowing economy. In July, the youth unemployment rate in China hit a record high, with a fifth of young people out of work.

Chinese city & # 39;  stretch to the limit & # 39;  as millions of people queued for Covid testing in extreme heat
Earlier this month, the Covid epidemic broke out in the resort island of Hainan and the western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet stranded tens of thousands of tourists.
In the southwestern capital of Chongqing, the government ordered mass Covid testing during record heat waveleaving millions of residents in the sun for hours, battling extreme temperatures and power shortages.
And this week, neighboring Sichuan province reported a resurgence of the virus. Chengdu, the capital of the province of 20 million people, identified 205 cases of infection Third, after the authorities launched mass testing across the city. The outbreak, first reported last Thursday, was linked to a swimming pool, according to authorities.

Amid concerns about the prolonged lockdown across the city, Chengdu residents rushed to buy groceries and daily necessities at supermarkets.

In Shijiazhuang, capital of northern China’s Hebei province, authorities suspended public transport across the city over the weekend, after 30 infections were detected in the city. batch testing process. The city is home to 11 million people.

In the northern port city of Tianjin, 20 infections were reported after a city-wide inspection on Friday.

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