More than half a year since Covid-19 halted its spread in mainland China, new clusters of cases have appeared in and around the capital Beijing in recent weeks.
The number of newly reported cases is nowhere near as high as in many countries outside of China, including the US. Hebei, the worst-hit province, has reported more than 800 new confirmed cases since January 1. Here’s a look at the provinces that have reported confirmed coronavirus cases since December 1, with darker shades representing areas with higher numbers of cases:
The ongoing spread of the virus, particularly in Hebei province surrounding Beijing, has led authorities to lockdown several regions and urge people across the country not to travel during the upcoming New Year celebrations. The holiday officially falls in mid-February this year.
“Given the rapid response from local governments, efficient testing and tracking systems, and the ongoing adoption of vaccines, we believe the situation will eventually be brought under control,” said Ting Lu, Nomura’s chief economist, China, in a January 18 note . “However, the unusually cold weather and the upcoming Lunar New Year (LNY) rush could make the task of containing the virus more difficult.”
“The hospitality sector is expected to slow while the industrial sector may remain solid,” said Lu, adding, “Markets may need to lower expectations of strong pent-up consumer demand during the upcoming LNY vacation in mid-February.”
Hebei Province started an increase in coronavirus cases earlier this year, with daily numbers topping 90 last week. The numbers don’t include the many asymptomatic cases found by mass testing.