As the number of days between now and the start of the Winter Games in Beijing continues to shrink, the number of confirmed cases of COVID acknowledged by the CCP continues to grow.
According to Bloomberg, China's NHC reported 12 COVID infections Friday, bringing the total confirmed in the capital city to two dozen since last Saturday. Authorities once again blamed the outbreak on imported frozen food and other imported products, lest anybody question the efficacy of the CCP's "warlike" approach to suppressing the virus. The presence of the omicron variant in the city wasn't acknowledged until just a few days ago, and the government has been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to confirming new omicron cases.
Unfortunately for the CCP, the pandemic isn't the only problem persistently plaguing China's leaders ahead of the Winter Games. The ructions in China's property sector still present a major risk to economic stability, even if shares of homebuilders have rebounded from their lows.
Here's a breakdown of Friday's infections, and the factors that the NHC has blamed for the infections.
Friday’s numbers include five people that are not yet showing any symptoms. Two infections were traced back to an earlier patient coming in contact with international mail from Canada that was later found to have been contaminated with the omicron variant. The remaining 10 infections are close contacts of the initial cluster detected earlier this week and driven by the delta variant at a cold storage facility dealing with imported foods, health officials said at a briefing.
Beijing has emerged as the latest COVID hotspot after China's health authorities scrambled to contain the spread of the omicron variant in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing, and weeks after they locked down Xi’an, a western Chinese city of 13MM that has been locked down since just before Christmas.
While the outbreaks have interfered with production of semiconductors and other goods in Xi'an and elsewhere, China's ports have also been struggling with disruptions - and not just the port in Tianjin.
Bloomberg reported that containers are stacking up at the already backed-up port in Shenzhen. The Yantian terminal at the Shenzen port has been forced to warn clients about the backlog, which is likely going to get worse before it gets better since the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday is right around the corner.
Ships arriving to the Yantian terminal are delayed by an average seven days and the number of ships arriving from Europe and the U.S. has fallen more than 40% in the past two weeks, the terminal said in a customer advisory Wednesday. That comes on top of the problems Shenzhen port was already facing, with a viral outbreak earlier this month leading to lockdowns of districts, testing of workers and trucking delays at the Yantian and Shekou container terminals.
The congestion has prompted the Yantian terminal to say it will start restricting the acceptance of containers. To stop operations getting worse, from Friday full containers can only be trucked in four days before vessels are due to berth, the operator said.
This week is seen as the "peak" week to get goods out of China before the lengthy holiday.