Is history repeating itself?
Go back to January 2020 when, in celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year, The Year of the Rat, China launched the COVID War and locked down cities across the nation.
Now China, the country that led the way in 2020 when it came to extreme COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates, is at it again and announced that it will shut down key cities due to what it considers to be a spike in new cases.
One of the industrial plants impacted by the newly announced seven-day lockdown is the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen that assembles Apple iPhones. Beijing has been enforcing a Zero COVID policy during the pandemic and has been closely monitoring an outbreak in Hong Kong. (See “HONG KONG UNDER PRESSURE FROM CHINA TO WIN THE COVID WAR.”)
Shenzhen, a city of about 17 million people that borders Hong Kong, recorded 66 new cases on Sunday. China, a country of 1.4 billion, recorded 3,122 new cases on Sunday. Beijing, a city of 21.54 million, recorded six new cases and shuttered the office buildings where these cases were discovered, The Associated Press reported.
Yet, despite the lockdowns, there have been no reported deaths. And since the COVID War began, China, a nation of 1.4 billion people, has recorded just 4,636 virus deaths. This compares the U.S., with 332 million people of which recorded 991,037 deaths from the coronavirus.
“Every day when I go to work, I worry that if our office building will suddenly be locked down then I won’t be able to get home, so I have bought a sleeping bag and stored some fast food in the office in advance, just in case,” Yimeng Li, a resident in Shanghai, where there were 41 new cases on Sunday, told the AP.
Shanghai, a city of 26.32 million, recorded 713 cases in March, the report said. Six hundred and thirty-two were asymptomatic cases.
The U.S., a country of 329.5 million, averages 37,147 new cases a day as of 9 March but has largely moved away from COVID-19 restrictions due to the number of those already infected and the lower risks tied to the Omicron variant.
The Foxconn plant was described in the Times as the size of a midsize city and it will reopen when the city’s government determines it is safe. Some of the plant’s productions have been taken on by other facilities to try and alleviate the impact on the supply chain.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been one of the world’s last remaining holdouts to enforce a “zero COVID” policy, which means any small outbreak results in an immediate lockdown until any risk of further contamination is snuffed out.
Hundreds of members of the military responded to an outbreak of the “stealth omicron” in Jilin, another industrial province in the country’s north, the AP reported.
China has teams working around the clock to erect a 6,000-bed isolation hospital in Jilin. The last time the country had such a dramatic response was in Wuhan back in 2020.
“I have a bad feeling again—China is reinstating measures & has fired the mayors of two key cities,” Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist, tweeted. “Thus far, China has shut down an industrial city, urged residents not to leave Beijing and closed down schools in Shanghai due to increase of #COVID19.”
Hong Kong-COVID Rising
However, in Hong Kong, a city of some 7.5 million, over 700,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported and about 4,200 deaths… most of them in the past three weeks according to Reuters.
Already imposing some of the strictest COVID mandates on the planet, the government only permits two people to get together, schools and most venues are shut down and people must wear masks at all times… indoors and outside.
TRENDPOST: China has been one of the world’s last remaining holdouts trying to enforce a Zero-COVID policy, which has proven to be ineffective in Hong Kong amid its own major outbreak. The Financial Times reported that as of Sunday, the city recorded 3,993 deaths—three-quarters of which occurred in the past two weeks. Health authorities in the city reported 26,908 new infections on Monday with 249 deaths, Reuters reported.
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed concerns about the situation in Hong Kong on Friday during an annual parliamentary session, The South China Morning Post reported, citing a top official who was there. XI called on the city to take an approach as “precise as acupuncture.”
Zhang Wenhong, Shanghai-based virologist, told ABC News that the flare-up was the “most difficult moment in the past two years.”
The Trends Journal has reported extensively about the mental health problems that could result in these mandatory lockdowns. (See “COVID LOCKDOWN: MENTAL ILLNESS BLUES,” “LOCKDOWN LUNACY CREATING ‘MENTAL HEALTH PANDEMIC” and “LONG LOCKDOWNS = MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS.”)
Police in Hong Kong reported three suicide attempts in 27 hours in February at one of the city’s quarantine camps.
TREND FORECAST: As goes China, so goes the rest of the world?
Following the announcement of strict COVID War measures that the Chinese government has imposed on its population, oil and commodities across a broad spectrum have dramatically declined.
With fears that the government will continue to impose its Zero-COVID Policy, oil prices sank to a two-week low today on concerns that with these strict mandates in place, demand for oil and a range of commodities will decrease.
And despite Chinese industrial output rising 7.5 percent year-on-year in January and February as compared with a year earlier, and retail sales in China up 6.7 for the first two months of the year… far outstripping expectations for a 3 percent rise, its equity market was hit hard. The Shanghai composite fell nearly 5 percent and the Shenzhen component slumped 4.36 percent.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dove 5.72 percent, hitting its lowest point since February 2016 percent.
Therefore, should these strict lockdown mandates continue, not only will China’s economy continue to decline, there will be more supply chain disruptions which will push inflation higher.
Also, with fear of a new virus variant spreading, it may entice Western nations to again follow China’s lead in fighting the COVID war by imposing new rounds of mandates and vaccine requirements.