China’s economy slumps under widespread COVID-19 lockdowns

China’s economy grew 4.8% in the first quarter of 2022, compared with the same three months of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, and the already anemic figure “masks a looming problem”. The New York Times reports. Much of this growth was recorded in January and February, before the COVID-19 Omicron variant exploded in China, leading to strict shutdowns in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen, then in Shanghai and other centers. key industrialists.

Counting cities where movement in and out was limited to full shelter-in-place closures like the one imposed in Shanghai, 87 of China’s 100 largest cities were in some kind of lockdown as of April 11, according to the economic research company Gavekal Dragonomics. The tech and auto sectors have warned in recent days of the economic effects of the shutdowns on their industries, among China’s biggest employers.

“Shanghai is a hub for international automakers. If the hub breaks down, the whole system won’t work,” said Cui Dongshu, general secretary of the China Passenger Car Association. Time.

Chinese authorities have reported more than 443,000 cases of COVID-19 since March 1, including just two deaths in the northeastern province of Jilin, but those numbers are low based on international standards for counting cases and cases. death, according to FinancialTimes reports.

For example, more than 92% of the more than 20,000 cases reported in Shanghai each day are listed as asymptomatic, but patients are only listed as symptomatic if their positive test is confirmed by a lung scan, said a Chinese official close to the Chinese Research Center. Disease control and prevention tell the FinancialTimes. “This means that tens of thousands of people who tested positive and had cold symptoms were recorded as ‘asymptomatic’, unlike many other countries.”

Jin Dong-yan, a virologist at a Hong Kong university, says FT that mainland China tends to list chronic diseases like heart disease as the cause of death rather than COVID-19, even if the person has been infected with the coronavirus. “The numbers aren’t exact, but hospitals in Shanghai aren’t necessarily doing it on purpose,” he said. “From the beginning, China had this method of registering deaths.”

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