Production suspended at Chinese manufacturing hub amid COVID-19 outbreak By Reuters

© Reuters. People wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walk on a street in Shanghai, China on December 14, 2021. REUTERS / Aly Song

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Several companies at one of China’s largest manufacturing hubs have suspended operations as local authorities try to contain a COVID-19 outbreak, halting production of goods ranging from batteries to textile dyes and to plastics.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted activities in parts of Zhejiang, an eastern province with a large industrial sector, where many products are produced for export.

At least 20 listed companies have gone out of business in Zhejiang, as tens of thousands of citizens have been quarantined, some domestic flights have been suspended, and several sporting events have been canceled.

The epidemic in three Zhejiang cities – Ningbo, Shaoxing and Hangzhou – was growing at a “relatively fast” rate, health officials said over the weekend.

The province reported 44 locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms on December 13, according to official data on Tuesday, bringing the total to 217 just over a week since the first case was reported on December 6. Before the current outbreak, the province had reported only one local case this year.

Companies reporting a production halt on Tuesday include Zhejiang Mustang Battery Co Ltd, Guobang Pharma Ltd and textile dye maker Zhejiang Runtu Co Ltd.

Ningo-based Mustang Battery said it expected the outbreak to be brought under control very soon and that the production halt was a temporary measure that “will not have a long-term negative impact on business growth “.

Zhejiang Runtu said all of its units in the Zhejiang Shangyu Economic Development Zone, which accounts for 95 percent of its revenue, have been shut down since December 9 and expected a negative impact on its fourth quarter results.

They joined Ningbo Homelink Eco-Itech Co Ltd, Zhejiang Zhongxin Fluoride Materials Co Ltd, Zhejiang Jingsheng Mechanical & Electrical Co Ltd and Zhejiang Fenglong Electric Co Ltd.

The companies said they halted operations after local governments in one district in Ningbo and another in Shaoxing cut all production except essential manufacturing. The orders cover all companies in the affected areas, but only listed companies are required to disclose any impact on their business.

More than 50,000 people were quarantined at centralized facilities across the 64.4 million coastal province, while nearly half a million more were monitored.

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