China is experiencing its worst COVID-19 wave since the start of the pandemic, prompting some of China’s largest factories to suspend production.
The country’s National Health Commission reported on 2,300 new cases Sunday and 3,300 Saturday, which is a drop in the bucket compared to infection rates in the United States. But when you have a whole province like Jilin and Chinese cities like Shenzhen – the so-called Silicon Valley for hardware – in a lockdown in the next week, it will be felt around the global supply chain.
Officials in Shanghai, the financial capital, are also restricting people’s movements. Shanghai does not call it a full lockdown; the whole city is not locked, but officials barricade individual buildings.
The effect on the residents is just as jarring. For days, friends have been sending me the news that their high-rises have been sealed overnight. Pet owners have formed chat groups and backup plans for how they can feed their beloved animals if they cannot come home for several weeks.
China’s zero-COVID policy means that even if you are a contact person and did not test positive, you may still need to be quarantined at a public hotel.
This strategy is how China kept its factories going during the pandemic. But the omicron variant is highly contagious.
Here in Shanghai, you can not leave the city unless you prove that you are COVID-free and have a good reason to travel.
Students are back to online learning, and parents, if they are lucky, work from home.
As for people who still walk into the office like me, the morning commute is quiet. Many restaurants are only open for take-out. And I carry my work things wherever I go, just in case.