Beijing, 14 March 2022 (TDI): China recently imposed its biggest lockdown in two years as the country records the highest number of COVID cases in 2 years. Half the economy is at risk amidst increasing lockdowns. curb

The government of China placed Shenzhen’s 17.5 million residents on lockdown for at least a week as the country recorded 3,393 new cases. Shenzhen is the southern technology hub of the country and such large lockdowns will deal a major blow to the economy, as the Guangdong province accounts for nearly 11% of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The lockdown will close public transport until March 20, schools have been suspended in Shanghai and several lockdowns implemented throughout the country. The increase in cases has been caused by the new, highly contagious omicron variant.

“The emergency response mechanism in some areas is not robust enough. There is insufficient understanding of the characteristics of the Omicron variant … and judgment has been inaccurate.” -Zhang Yan, Jilin Health Commission official.

The new surge in cases is being touted as the worst since 2020, with many businesses and workers being forced to stay home and shut down without any prior notices, although in the long run, it will benefit the people.

China’s National Health Commission on Friday said that it would make rapid antigen tests available at several clinics for self-testing. While most European countries continue to ease lockdown restrictions China continues to raise them.

Further lockdowns could cause severe supply chain disruptions. China’s stringent zero-covid policies make it difficult for the country to remain productive when there is a covid case increase.

Although in abandoning this approach the country could see a sizeable increase in COVID-related cases. The country is accelerating its efforts to domestically produce mRNA vaccines and medicines, if it is successful in this matter the need for strict lockdown would go down considerably.

Economists at Barclays Bank said that China will make an effort to minimize the effects of COVID on the supply chain and might even take steps to loosen its zero-Covid policy.