China is the biggest technology hub is rushing to eliminate a fresh outbreak of Covid, ordering some of the country’s biggest manufacturers to work in a ‘closed loop’ to reduce infections, state media reported.
The city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, reported just 19 Covid cases on Tuesday as the city’s health authority said the risk of “large-scale spread is low”.
But Beijing’s reluctance to move away from its strict zero-Covid policy has resulted in daily mass testing of Shenzhen’s 13 million residents for more than a week and the closure of at least three subway stations by Tuesday.
Major manufacturers including iPhone maker Foxconn, electric car maker BYD, drone maker DJI and telecommunications equipment maker ZTE are among the companies asked to operate under a “closed loop” production system.
It would restrict the movement of employees for seven days, state business news site Yicai reported on Monday.
The closed loop mode of operation involves control measures such as locking workers within a compound and conducting daily nucleic acid testing.
Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that a government announcement told companies to reduce unnecessary interaction between non-manufacturing staff and factory floors to prevent infection.
Health officials earlier said all cases found in Shenzhen since July 15 were infected with the highly contagious Omicron BA.2 sub-variant.
Although it is expensive and reduces the scale of production, manufacturers – including Tesla’s location south of Shanghai in the past – have chosen to operate in a closed loop instead of resorting to full shutdowns during local Covid flareups.
Strict virus controls have threatened global supply chains and chilled China’s economy with Q2 growth coming in at a dismal 0.4 percent – the weakest growth since the pandemic began.
China reported 976 covid cases on Tuesday, with the largest outbreaks reported in the southern Guanxi region and northwestern Gansu province.
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