The city of 25 million and China’s financial hub began a phased lockdown today. A wave of Omicron infections in Shanghai hit a record of 3,450 daily asymptomatic cases on Sunday. That’s nearly 70% of China’s total.
The lock down on eastern side of the Huangpu River, which divides Shanghai and contains the city’s main international airport and its financial district, runs from Monday through Friday. A similar lockdown on the western side of the city will begin on April 1 and will run until April 5. Under the lockdown city residents are confined to their homes while health officials implement a program of mass testing.
Only a few days before announcing the lockdown, one member of the city’ pandemic task force had vowed that they city would not go not lockdown, citing the huge potential economic impact.
“If Shanghai, this city of ours, came to a complete halt, there would be many international cargo ships floating in the East China Sea,” said Wu Fan, a medical expert on the task force.
But with the example of Hong Kong in front of them–where softer measures have failed to stem a severe outbreak–government officials decided that, economic disruptions be damned, and the city would go into lockdown.
Maybe it’s because it is Shanghai and not Shenzhen or any of the country’s manufacturing hubs, the stock market has basically shrugged at the news. At 1:30 New York time, the iShares China Large Cap ETF (FXI) was up 0.76%.