Zhejiang, the major industrial and export hub in Eastern China, has been rattled by COVID-19.
Official data by the province reviewed 173 locally transmitted cases between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12. Reuters noted that just in October, the province reported only one case.
Three of its cities where the cases emerged, Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Hangzhou have been put under restrictions. According to the Epoch Times, lockdowns have been imposed on tens of thousands of residents, and flights were canceled.
Local officials have also suspended work at factories, allowing essential production only. Those where the virus was tracked would be closed.
At least 20 listed companies have closed operations in areas where the virus has spread in Zhejiang province, which makes up about 6% of China’s GDP.
Last year, the cities accounted for more than 50% of Zhejiang’s total economic output, worth about $1.02 trillion. Zhejiang is also a key exporter of Chinese products.
Zhaopeng Xing, a senior China strategist at ANZ Research, told AFP that “The shutdown of Zhejiang factories will impact the supply chains of various sectors, especially fiber and textiles.”
Zhaopeng said the economic impact could be similar to that which happened in September and October when power rationing was implemented.
The senior strategist expected businesses may be able to resume at least after the Lunar New Year in February.
Precautionary measurements were also imposed on areas without any cases. In Huzhou and Jiaxing cities, indoor entertainment venues and conferences were banned.
Wenzhou, where no infections were recorded, has been used for experimenting with anti-epidemic measures.
A local government official told Reuters that these measures would allow local authorities to swiftly shut down places and screen COVID-19 traces when a positive case surfaces.