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On Monday China reported 28,127 new domestically transmitted Covid cases on Monday as the country neared its April peak. Infections in the southern city of Guangzhou and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing accounted for about half the total. In Beijing, cases have hit new highs every day, prompting calls from the city government for more residents to stay in place and show proof of a negative COVID test, not more than 48 hours old, to get into public buildings. Beijing shut parks and museums on Tuesday. Late on Tuesday, Shanghai announced that from Thursday people may not enter venues such as shopping malls and restaurants within five days of arriving in the city, although they can still go to offices and use transport. Earlier, the city of 25 million people ordered the closure of cultural and entertainment venues in seven of its 16 districts after reporting 48 new local infections.

So much for hopes of a quick reopening of China’s economy.

Brokerage Nomura said its in-house index estimated that localities accounting for about 19.9% of China’s total gross domestic product were under some form of lockdown or curbs, up from 15.6% last Monday, and not far off the index’s peak in April, during Shanghai’s lockdown. “The real picture may not be as rosy as it seems,” Nomura analysts wrote, saying they only expected any reopening to accelerate after March 2023, when the reshuffle of China’s top leadership is completed.