After authorities found more COVID cases in Ningbo, a port city and industrial hub home to one of the world's largest ports, residents are facing a partial lockdown, and reports claim that movement of essential products has been dramatically slowed as the lockdown measures slow activity at the port.
Beijing has managed to keep reports about the situation mostly under wraps, but reports in Bloomberg and several trade journals have warned that the slowdowns at the port could have wide-ranging ramifications for international commerce.
Right now, lockdowns are affecting Xi'an and Yuzhou along with the Ningbo port, Chinese sources said. In Yuzhou, which has a population of 1.1M, authorities shut down its transport system and all but essential food stores closed overnight.
The strict lockdown measures come as Beijing braces for both the Winter Olympics and the Lunar New Year. With exactly a month to go until the Games start, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin assured reporters China had "formulated an efficient and highly effective defense system".
Part of this system will involve thousands of staff and volunteers entering a bubble on Tuesday, which will see them have no physical contact with the outside world in order to limit the spread.
Athletes and members of the press who cover the Games will also enter the bubble on arrival in China, where they will remain for the duration of their stay.
In Yuzhou, situated some some 434 miles south-west of Beijing, officials said that "to curb and quash the epidemic within the shortest amount of time is a high-priority political task" for the local government.
Some people pointed out that the CCP's lockdown measures might actually be making the situation worse: "People are swapping stuff with others in the same building, because they no longer have enough food to eat," one man who spoke with Radio Free Asia on the condition of anonymity said.
The news outlet also reported that another man had wanted to trade a smartphone and tablet for rice, according to the BBC.
What Beijing calls its "dynamic zero COVID" strategy combines mass vaccinations with a regime of constant testing, nationwide monitoring of people's movements, temperature-taking and smartphone apps to prove individuals don't pose a threat. This hyper-vigilance has left doctors exhausted.
Perhaps this is why the activity at the Ningbo port has slowed: one trade journal covering the business of commerce said that while no COVID cases have been reported at any of the port's three container terminals, closures at warehouses and the container depot, as well as trucking disruptions, have made it difficult for manufacturers and suppliers to get their goods from the port, or to the port.