Commentary on Political Economy

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Harbin outbreak threatens China’s coronavirus recovery 
Cluster of cases near Russian border leads to fresh lockdowns and new temporary hospital China is attempting to reboot economic activity in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns. 

 A cluster of coronavirus cases in China’s north-eastern city of Harbin has forced authorities to impose new lockdowns, shattering the country’s run of weeks of reporting near zero domestic transmissions. China first reported zero new local infections in mid-March and only a few cases were disclosed in subsequent weeks. In the past week, however, dozens of transmissions within the country have been confirmed, the vast majority in Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia. As China attempts to reboot its economy, Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the outbreak in Harbin illustrates the present and unpredictable risk of a resurgence. “A second wave attack could be coming in a way that authorities don’t expect,” he said. More lockdowns elsewhere, just as it closed temporary hospitals in Wuhan, would hamper the country’s recovery.

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