Chinese province bordering Beijing expands Covid-19 lockdown

Shijiazhuang and Tianjin, cities close to Beijing, conducted mass testing and implemented partial lockdowns. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Another city near Beijing imposed a partial lockdown as Covid-19 infections climbed, taking extra precautions even as cases nationwide continued to ease.

Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of China's Hebei province that borders Beijing, said mass testing will be done on residents in four major downtown districts and they are required to stay at home for three days from 2pm on Sunday (Aug 28).

Shijiazhuang reported 25 local Covid-19 cases for Saturday.

Separately, the northern port city Tianjin, which is close to Beijing, will conduct city-wide mass Covid-19 tests on Monday, according to the state television. Tianjin reported 16 local Covid-19 cases by 4pm on Sunday.

Beijing reported three local Covid-19 cases for Saturday, among 1,294 cases for all of China.

The partial lockdown in Shijiazhuang, with a population of 11.2 million people, followed curbs adopted in other areas in Hebei province. Zhuozhou city that borders Beijing imposed a lockdown since last Tuesday, while Xianghe county that neighbours Beijing issued a stay-at-home order to its 384,000 residents from Friday.

Shijiazhuang also suspended subway services, and halted non-essential business operations in the locked-down districts.

China's economic slowdown deepened in July, with retail sales, industrial output and investment all missing economist estimates.

Policy makers have moved to bolster growth after the weak data.

Profits at industrial firms in China fell in the first seven months of the year as the economy continued to grapple with Covid-19 disruptions and an ongoing slump in the property sector, data on Saturday showed.

State media last week again defended the country's increasingly costly zero tolerance approach to Covid-19, saying inactivity from "lying flat" would be disastrous, as outbreaks in its tourism hotspots abate.

Recent damage to growth stems from Covid-19 itself, not the government's measures to contain it, the State Council-affiliated newspaper Economic Daily said in a column last Thursday.

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