In recent weeks, new pockets of Covid-19 cases have surfaced in parts of mainland China as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.
So far this month, locally transmitted cases reported in mainland China have risen to 878 – more than double the 390 cases recorded for the entire month of July, according to the CNBC daily statistics from China’s National Health Commission.
To be clear, the number of reported infections is much lower in China than many countries – including the US, where an average of about 100,000 new cases a day, and Southeast Asia, where daily cases have risen sharply.
Still, Chinese authorities have imposed targeted bans, tightened movement controls and ordered mass tests to curb the recent resurgence in Covid cases.
Impact on China’s Economy
Economists have raised concerns about China’s zero tolerance for Covid. The government has insisted on stamping out any flare-ups in Covid cases, even as many countries around the world – including the UK and Singapore – have started to accept that the virus will never go away.
The recent resurgence of Covid cases in China is due to the fact that some economic growth engines continue to lose momentum while domestic consumption struggles to fully recover, HSBC economists said in a report on Wednesday.
The economists found that the number of new infections reported in China is the highest since an outbreak in northern China in December 2020.
“As a result, many provinces and cities have tightened social distancing restrictions and bans on travel between cities and provinces,” the report said.
“These measures will inevitably weigh on growth, especially domestic consumption, which has not yet seen a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels,” the analysts said.
HSBC said mounting economic pressures could lead Beijing to adopt “more supportive” fiscal policies. This could include major infrastructure spending and tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses, the bank said.