Covid is a global concern. Yet, China’s over powering reaction to seemingly small outbreaks seems excessive, particularly its impact on Chinese exports of toys and consumer products.
Indeed, everyone’s antennas are up again due to the rise of the Omicron variant. China’s strong response to Covid, however, long predates Omicron.
Visitors to Hong Kong and China still must spend two weeks in quarantine, long after the rest of the world discontinued the practice. Two weeks ago, authorities shut down Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland due to one individual at each park testing positive for Covid.
The Chinese government is the majority owner of both theme parks. The Shanghai shutdown trapped 34,000 people in the park for hours. All had to be tested before leaving.
Things are not going any more smoothly for those who ship products out of China’s ports. Ports have been shut in China over recent months due to Covid’s occurrence in a relatively small number of workers. Consider this August 13, 2021CNBC headline, “China’s zero-Covid policy is so strict that it shut down a whole shipping terminal after just one case.” Here is another headline, this one from Fortune, “How harsh are China’s COVID restrictions? A single infection closed the world’s third-busiest port.”
Things are not getting any easier for shippers.
The latest restrictions at China’s ports target Chinese crew, requiring them to quarantine for three weeks before their return to China, then another two weeks at the port of arrival, and two more weeks in their province before they can reunite with their familiesSupply-Chain Crisis Only Getting Worse With China’s 7-Week Port Quarantine, Bloomberg, November 24, 2021
Is China’s zero-tolerance approach good governance, or is it too heavy-handed? For the world’s toy and consumer products, deeply dependent upon China as the world’s factory, it’s the latter.
If you want to know why Richard believes China is taking a heavy hand on Covid and other issues, read what he has to say about it in The Toy Intelligencer.