China Manufacturing Hub Locks Down over Coronavirus, Threatening Economy
All people seeking to travel out of southern China’s Dongguan city must present a negative Chinese coronavirus test result to municipal authorities before they are allowed to exit the community, Dongguan city officials announced on Thursday.
“Dongguan has introduced strict traffic controls requiring residents and visitors leaving the city to present negative nucleic acid test results obtained within 48 hours,” the state-run China Daily reported on December 16.
Dongguan’s government imposed the travel restriction in an effort to curb local transmission of the Chinese coronavirus. The city, located roughly 50 miles north of Hong Kong in China’s Guangdong province, is currently experiencing a resurgent caseload of the disease after last suffering a coronavirus epidemic in late June when Dongguan also cut off all non-essential travel out of the municipality. The community reported eight new Chinese coronavirus cases on December 13 as part of its latest outbreak, with four new infections detected on December 15 in Dongguan’s Dalang township.
“Eight areas of Dalang township, including residential communities and industrial zones have been changed from the low-risk to medium-risk level,” Lai Shaoyu, the deputy secretary-general of Dongguan’s city government, told reporters at a press briefing on December 16. Lai referred to a risk assessment level used by municipal health officials to gauge a district’s Chinese coronavirus threat.
Dongguan is a manufacturing hub that is home to several factories owned by multinational companies such as Samsung and Gillette. Roughly 75 percent of Dongguan’s 8.34 million population consists of migrant workers who staff the city’s factories. Dongguan’s new restrictions on people seeking to travel out of the community will likely affect millions of the city’s migrant workers, most of whom return to their home towns across China and Asia before the Chinese Lunar New Year festival. The upcoming Lunar New Year — scheduled for February 1, 2022 — is China’s single biggest holiday.
Guangdong provincial authorities may be especially eager to clamp down on travel out of Dongguan because the city is strategically located near major Asian population centers, including Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macao.
“Dongguan is 50 kilometers [31 miles] from Guangdong’s capital city, Guangzhou. It also has a direct high-speed railway to Hong Kong and Macau,” according to the Global Times.
“Hong Kong’s railway offers service from Hung Hom Station in Hong Kong to Guangzhou with a stop at Changping Township in Dongguan,” the state-run newspaper observed. “You can also take a bus from Hong Kong to Dongguan. It takes about 2 hours depending on traffic.”