China placed the 17.5 million residents of the southern city of Shenzhen into lockdown for at least a week, seeking to halt a growing Covid-19 outbreak with a move that could cause disruption and production delays in the key technology hub and port.
The lockdown, which came after virus cases doubled nationwide to nearly 3,400, will be accompanied by three rounds of city-wide, mass testing, according to a government notice.
The measure, announced Sunday, followed earlier restrictions placed on Shenzhen’s central business district, and will last until March 20.
All bus and subway systems were shut, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed.
Employees were told to work from home if they can. Residents will be barred from leaving Shenzhen home to the headquarters of giants Huawei Technologies Co. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., as well as one of China’s busiest ports except in limited situations.
The city is home to the China headquarters and a key manufacturing facility of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple Inc.’s main maker of the iPhone and other products.
Health officials have warned tighter measures could be on their way, as concerns mount over the resilience of China’s zero covid approach in the face of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
Authorities reported 2,300 new virus cases nationwide on Monday and almost 3,400 a day earlier, the highest daily figure in two years.
“This suggests a high risk of community spread, and further precautions are still needed.”