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Shenzhen on alert as more Covid-19 cases crop up

China’s whac-a-mole approach to containing Covid-19 is seeing restrictions rushed in at many more important hubs across the country as the nation struggles to contain more contagious variants spreading.

Two Covid-19 cases in Shenzhen have seen local authorities usher in travel bans making it difficult to leave the city with more mass testing underway today in the city’s Longgang district. Trucker availability at the key southern Chinese box port is likely to be hit by this latest outbreak.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of workers at iPhone maker Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facilities and Huawei’s research campus in Dongguan are being tested as more Covid-19 cases crop up.

Beijing’s strict zero-Covid policy has curbed local outbreaks with mass testing, snap lockdowns, vigilant surveillance and extensive quarantines. However, new variants such as omicron have seen outbreaks intensify since the autumn.

Ningbo, home to the world’s largest port, has had three partial lockdowns in the space of six months.

Ship operations have become very difficult in China, the world’s most important merchant shipping destination.

“China’s zero-tolerance policy towards COVID-19 has turned out to be highly stressful for many ships’ crews, and challenging and costly for the ship operators. Ships arriving at Chinese ports are currently faced with strict epidemic control measures,” an alert from P&I club Gard warned yesterday.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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