A Chinese city’s swift return to normalcy following a COVID-19 outbreak has served as the latest proof of China’s efforts to strengthen global supply chains strained by the surging pandemic.
Shenzhen, a tech hub in southern China, has seen government offices and businesses resume normal work and production this week.
As a major city in the manufacturing powerhouse Guangdong Province, Shenzhen plays a vital role in global supply chains. Its rapid resumption of normalcy days after it was placed under a raft of strict prevention and control measures in accordance with the national anti-COVID-19 strategy, is clearly good news for global consumers.
Over the past two years, China’s dynamic zero-COVID-19 policy, featuring swift response, mass screening and large-scale vaccination, has not only prevented a large number of deaths at home, but also ensured that factories can deliver products ranging from iPhones to Teslas to consumers worldwide.
China’s rapid and precise response to the virus explains why the world’s second-largest economy has continued to secure solid growth momentum and robust exports through the pandemic.
In 2021, for example, China’s foreign trade hit a new high, exceeding US$6 trillion for the first time despite the pandemic continuing to weigh on global trade.
Had it not been for China’s manufacturing capacity and continuous flow of commodities, product shortages would have bitten into essentials, driving the retail prices higher in Walmart and Tesco stores, and elevating inflation and putting a brake on the already shaky global economic recovery.
A recent Bloomberg article said that if global consumers and businesses want to continue to buy goods made in China without having to endure shortages and further price hikes, they should want China to stick with its anti-COVID-19 policy.
“Yet as the past two years have demonstrated, temporary and isolated shutdowns don’t mean manufacturers and exporters stop working and goods don’t get onto ships,” said the article “Why the World Needs China’s Covid-Zero Policy.” “So the longer China sticks with Covid zero, the better it’ll be for the rest of the world.”
While some ports and factories were inevitably impacted by temporary restrictions as a part of virus containment efforts, the country’s industries have remained remarkably unscathed.
The latest economic data has already demonstrated how China’s economy, which posted stable growth of 8.1 percent amid the pandemic in 2021, began the year on a bright note. Several major indicators, such as retail sales of consumer goods and industrial output, have improved and beaten forecasts. Upholding its “people-centered philosophy,” the country has always stressed the need for targeted responses to keep the impact on production and social lives to a minimum.
That message was reinforced at a recent high-level meeting, during which President Xi Jinping urged more effective measures to achieve the best results in epidemic control with minimum costs, and minimizing the epidemic’s impact on the economic and social development.
If China were to follow the model of “coexistence with the virus,” it would be reporting “hundreds of thousands of” daily cases, “even in a highly underestimated outbreak scenario and under the most optimistic assumptions,” according to an article published in China CDC Weekly, the official platform of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) for international academic exchanges on public health.