Complete each day Covid instances in mainland China rise above lockdown highs in Shanghai

Few vehicles, including one carrying two health workers, drive through Beijing’s central business district on November 23, 2022 as the area announced tighter Covid controls.

Kevin Frayer | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

BEIJING — Mainland China reported more than 31,000 Covid infections for Wednesday, including cases without symptoms.

That surpassed the high of 29,317 recorded during Shanghai’s lockdown in mid-April, according to CNBC calculations from Wind Information data.

However, daily symptomatic Covid infections remain well below the high recorded in April. Almost 90% or more of all Covid cases reported in the past few days have been asymptomatic, the data showed.

The southern city of Guangzhou, the state capital Beijing and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing have been hardest hit by the latest Covid wave.

But almost all of China’s 31 provincial-level regions have reported new Covid infections with and without symptoms every day.

Six Covid-related deaths have been reported since the weekend through Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.

China’s tight Covid controls have weighed on sentiment and business activity. National GDP barely grew in the second quarter due to the lockdown in Shanghai. At the end of the third quarter, growth for the year was just 3% higher than a year earlier — well below the official target of around 5.5% announced in March.

Factories close to Covid outbreaks have tried to keep operations running using what is known as closed-loop management, which typically requires employees to live on-site.

Company officials have noted that getting workers from lockdown areas into factories is difficult, while employees who live too long at manufacturing sites often tire.

During the last Covid wave Apple Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou drew attention to itself with videos of renewed workers’ unrest shared on social media. It was unclear how many of the factory’s roughly 200,000 employees were affected or if there was an impact on production.

Foxconn said on Wednesday that some new hires at the company have appealed for a wage, while contrary to speculation new hires will only move into disinfected dormitories.

Separately, Zhengzhou said those living in the central part of the city should not leave their homes for five days starting Friday while authorities conducted mass virus tests.

Why China is showing no signs of moving away from its 'zero Covid' strategy

China this month cut quarantine times and announced more measures to try to make Covid controls more targeted. However, authorities have stressed their zero-Covid policy amid concerns over whether the public health system could cope with a surge in infections.

Targeted Covid measures

Recent Covid controls over personal business and residential lockdowns have been scattered across parts of China, a country of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are being announced publicly, while restrictions are increasingly targeted and can range from just a few days to weeks or longer.

For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to resume operations on Friday after operations were suspended on Oct. 31 due to Covid.

Despite tighter restrictions in Beijing’s business district, Universal Beijing Resort on the outskirts of the city remains open after a five-day closure that ended Oct. 31.

– CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

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