The total number of daily Covid cases in mainland China rises above the peak of the Shanghai lockdown

Only a few vehicles, including one carrying two health workers, are moving through Beijing’s central business district on November 23, 2022, as the area has announced stricter Covid controls.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

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

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

However, daily symptomatic Covid infections remain well below April’s high levels. Nearly 90% or more of total Covid cases reported in recent days were asymptomatic, the data showed.

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

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

Since the weekend, six Covid-related deaths have been reported on Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.

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

Factories near Covid outbreaks have attempted to maintain operations using so-called closed-loop management, which typically requires staff to live on site.

Industry representatives have found it difficult to get workers from closed-off neighborhoods into factories, while workers who spend too long at production sites often become fatigued.

During the last Covid wave, Apple Supplier Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou city has attracted attention for videos of renewed worker unrest shared on social media. It was unclear how many of the plant’s approximately 200,000 employees were involved, or if there was any impact on production.

Foxconn said on Wednesday that some new hires had appealed to the company about work compensation, while stating that contrary to speculation, new hires would only move to sanitized dorms.

Separately, Zhengzhou said those living in the central part of the city will not be allowed to leave their homes for five days from Friday as authorities conducted mass virus testing.

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China shortened quarantine times this month and has announced other measures to try to make Covid controls more targeted. But authorities have emphasized their zero-Covid policy amid concerns over whether the public health system can handle a wave of infections.

Targeted Covid measures

The latest Covid checks on personal business and apartment lockdowns have spread across parts of China, a country of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are publicly announced as restrictions become more 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 suspending operations due to Covid on Oct. 31.

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

– CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.

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