COVID outbreak escalating in Guangzhou, China, as more lockdowns loom

Guangzhou saw its most severe flare-up ever as COVID-19 cases escalated, official data show, as the global manufacturing hub tested its ability to avoid a Shanghai-style citywide lockdown. On Nov. 7, 7,475 locally transmitted infections were reported nationwide, the highest number since May 1, according to China’s health authority.

COVID outbreak escalating in Guangzhou, China, as more lockdowns loomCompared to global standards, the increase is modest, but significant for China, where outbreaks are quickly contained. A number of economically vital cities, including Beijing, are demanding more PCR tests and locking down neighborhoods and even districts. Despite the sharp rebound, China’s COVID measures will be put to the test, challenging investor expectations that it will reopen its borders or even back off its zero-tolerance policy.

A rising COVID case load eroded optimism about China reopening its borders, which have been closed to most visitors since 2020. On November 7, Guangzhou reported 2,377 newly reported local cases, up from 1,971 the previous day. As the sprawling southern city battles its most serious outbreak, it jumps from double-digit increases two weeks ago.

Various levels of curbs and lockdowns are in place in many districts, including central Haizhu. Unlike Shanghai, Guangzhou has not implemented a blanket lockdown. Despite not experiencing a COVID resurgence, Shanghai was put on lockdown in April and May after reporting several thousand COVID infections daily in March.