More than half a year since Covid-19 hedged its spread within mainland China, new clusters of cases have emerged in and around the capital city of Beijing in the latest few weeks.
The number of new reported cases is nowhere near the levels seen in many countries outside China, encompassing the United States. Hebei, the worst-hit province, has reported more than 800 new confirmed cases since Jan. 1. But here’s a look at the strands that have reported confirmed coronavirus cases since Dec. 1, with darker shades representing ranges with higher number of cases:
The persistent spread of the virus, particularly in the province of Hebei that surrounds Beijing, has prompted officialdoms to lock down several regions and urge people nationwide not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year birthday. The holiday officially falls this year in mid-February.
“Considering the swift responses by local governments, the efficient trial and tracing systems and the ongoing vaccine rollout, we believe the situation will be eventually brought under control,” Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura, believed in a Jan. 18 note. “However, the unusually cold weather and the incoming lunar new year (LNY) travel rush could tidy up the task of containing the virus more challenging.”
“The hospitality sector is set to slow, while the industrial sector may remain strong,” Lu said, adding that “markets may need to lower their expectations for strong pent-up consumption demand during the upcoming LNY furloughs in mid-February.”
Hebei province began disclosing a spike in coronavirus cases at the start of this year, with daily slews topping 90 last week. The figures do not include the many asymptomatic cases found through mass probe.