After a chaotic shutdown in financial markets, the government announced Thursday that Shenzhen’s major Chinese business hub will be allowed to reopen while coronavirus efforts progress.
Huang Qiang (deputy mayor) said that testing of all residents of the 17.5 million-person city is progressing “smoothly” during a news conference. He stated that 71 cases had been discovered in the 24 hours to midnight Wednesday.
China’s latest outbreaks of disease in China have seen a relatively low number of cases. Authorities are using a “zero tolerance strategy” to temporarily close major cities in order to isolate all infected people.
According to the transcript, Huang stated that “We will organise enterprises to return to their work.” Huang did not give a timetable, but stated that businesses must strengthen anti-disease strategies and ensure employees are protected from the symptoms of the virus.
Chinese leaders seem to be working to improve their disease control system in order to achieve their goal of zero cases and reduce economic and social disruptions from strict controls.
On Thursday, leaders of the ruling Communist Party met and “emphasized the need to maintain normal production”, but stated that disease control work should “be carried out strictly”, state TV reported.
The meeting heard the leaders of the parties say that “We must accelerate the reformation of the disease control system.” The report did not provide details about the possible changes being considered.
Shenzhen, a financial and technology hub, ordered all businesses to close on Monday. The subway and bus services were also shut down. Residents were asked to remain at home as authorities conducted three rounds of testing.
Alarm was raised about the potential impact on smartphone manufacturing, and other industries that are centered in Shenzhen which borders Hong Kong. Economists warned of a possible threat to trade if antivirus controls spread to Shenzhen’s Yantian Port. This port is one of the most important business hubs in the world.
Elsewhere in the northeast, Changchun’s industrial center was shut down and travel restrictions were imposed upon Jilin, its neighboring province.
Volkswagen AG stated that production at Changchun’s factory would be stopped Friday. According to the German automaker, a factory in Shanghai where anti-disease controls were also tightened would continue to operate.
Some of China’s largest companies are based in Shenzhen, including Huawei Technologies Ltd., Ping An Insurance Co. of China and BYD Auto, a manufacturer of electric vehicles, as well as Tencent Holding, the operator of the popular WeChat messaging system.
Huang stated that Shenzhen’s “epidemic prevention situation and control situation are positive”.
Huang said Shenzhen was still suffering from “sporadic epidemics.” He stated that 71 confirmed infections had been found between midnight Wednesday and midnight Wednesday.
Huang stated that “Epidemic prevention work and control work must not be slowed down at all.”