China placed the 17.5 million residents of the southern city of Shenzhen into lockdown for at least a week, seeking to halt a growing Covid-19 outbreak with a move that could cause disruption and production delays in the key technology hub and port.
The lockdown, which came after virus cases doubled nationwide to nearly 3,400, will be accompanied by three rounds of city-wide, mass testing, according to a government notice. The measure, announced Sunday, followed earlier restrictions placed on Shenzhen’s central business district, and will last until March 20.
All bus and subway systems were shut, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed. Employees were told to work from home if they can. Residents will be barred from leaving Shenzhen — home to the headquarters of giants Huawei Technologies Co. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., as well as one of China’s busiest ports — except in limited situations.
The city is home to the China headquarters and a key manufacturing facility of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple Inc.’s main maker of the iPhone and other products. The surge in infections in the city is thought to be linked to an unbridled outbreak in neighboring Hong Kong, where about 300,000 people are currently in isolation or under home quarantine. A Covid flareup in Shanghai has also seen most schools returned to online learning and travel into the city restricted. Bus services from other provinces were halted, and China’s aviation regulator is in discussion with airlines about diverting all international flights into the financial center, Bloomberg News reported Friday.