BEIJING: Investors had hoped China would ease its strict Covid Zero strategy once the pivotal Communist Party congress cemented President Xi Jinping’s grip on power. Instead, the opposite seems to be happening.
New lockdowns are being imposed from Wuhan, the original epicenter of Covid, to China’s industrial belt on the east coast. Schools and eateries in restaurants in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangzhou have been suspended, while targeted closures in metropolises Beijing and Shanghai continue, with apartment buildings and neighborhoods under lockdown orders. stay at home if even a close contact of an infected person has visited.
The escalation comes as infections begin to rise again, with China reporting 1,321 new Covid cases for Thursday, the highest tally in two weeks. It also belies the expectation of some China investors and watchers that the country would change course on the virus after the end of congress once every five years, with Xi championing the Covid Zero policy in his opening speech.
A survey by Japanese bank Nomura found that the number of Chinese under Covid control measures is currently around 232 million, up from 225 million last week. The 31 cities in some form of lockdown as of Oct. 27 account for one in six people in China and 24.5% of its gross domestic product, according to Nomura’s analysis, up from 22.9% the previous week.
“Lockdowns have been enforced even more stringently since the end of the Party Congress,” the analysts said.

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