By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- The Chinese city of Shanghai is to loosen some public quarantine measures in response to falling numbers of new COVID-19 infections, the English language state-owned Global Times said on Wednesday.
It called the move a big step to ending the draconian restrictions on the city’s 25 million inhabitants, after a lockdown that has lasted over a month, closing factories belonging to Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ), Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p ) and many others, and creating a massive logjam at China’s biggest port.
Official figures released Wednesday indicated that the number of new infections across the city fell 20%, a fourth straight daily drop.
The Global Times cited Zhao Dandan, a deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, as telling a press briefing that 51 million tests were conducted in the past five days and that the incidence of positive cases has been gradually dropping. The rate of new infections across the city had peaked in the second week of April.
The news comes as Beijing, the capital, and Hangzhou, another important manufacturing center and port city 110 miles (177 kilometers) southwest of Shanghai, begin mass testing to clamp down on incipient COVID-19 outbreaks of their own.
A spate of COVID-19 outbreaks across China has badly hit economic activity in the last two months, with retail sales falling 3.5% on the year in March and the Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers index falling below the 50 level that typically separates growth from contraction.
If lockdowns persist through the end of the month, they could take around 1.4 percentage points off China’s gross domestic product growth this year, dragging it below 4%, according to a research note by Alicia Garcia-Herrero, chief economist for Asia-Pacific with Natixis.
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