China’s covid epicentre shifts to Guangzhou as outbreaks widen

New coronavirus cases surged in Guangzhou and other Chinese cities, official data showed on Tuesday, with the global manufacturing hub becoming China’s latest Covid-19 epicentre and testing the city’s ability to avoid a Shanghai-style lockdown.Nationwide, new locally transmitted infections climbed to 7,475 on Nov. 7, according to China’s health authority, up from 5,496 the day before and the highest since May 1. Guangzhou accounted for nearly a third of the new infections.The increase was modest by global standards but significant for China, where outbreaks are to be quickly tackled when they surface under its zero-covid policy.Economically vital cities, including the capital Beijing, are demanding more PCR tests for residents and locking down neighbourhoods and even districts in some cases.The sharp rebound will test China’s ability to keep its covid measures surgical and targeted, and could dampen investors’ hopes that the world’s second-largest economy could ease curbs and restrictions soon.”We are seeing a game between rising voices for loosening controls and rapid spreading of covid cases,” said Nie Wen, a Shanghai-based economist at Hwabao Trust.Considering how the nationwide covid curbs are crushing domestic consumption, Nie said he had downgraded his fourth-quarter economic growth forecast to around 3.5% from 4%-4.5%. The economy grew 3.9% in July-September.The rising case load dragged on China’s stock markets on Tuesday, but shares have not yet surrendered last week’s big gains.