Date: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
The city of Yiwu in eastern China, which exports everything from Christmas decorations to U.S. Presidential campaign merchandise, was locked down Wednesday, the latest blow to global supply chains from the country’s battle to stamp out the coronavirus.
Home to a wholesale market that draws in goods from all over China, Yiwu asked residents to not leave their residential compounds or villages, closed schools and told local public transport operators to skip several bus stations in the region, according to a statement published on the city’s official WeChat account.
The lockdown of the city’s 1.9 million people was imposed after the detection of just three asymptomatic Covid-19 infections the day before, reflecting authorities’ desire to enact strict measures earlier in an outbreak to avoid the spiraling crisis that’s enveloped financial center Shanghai.
Yiwu has seen only six confirmed Covid cases since the start of the year and currently has eight asymptomatic people under isolation, according to the local government. Officials have been conducting mass testing to root out silent chains of transmission.
While not as important to the economy as Shanghai or Beijing, Yiwu’s prominence as a hub for global trade in consumer knick-knacks is likely to add to pressure on supply chains already dealing with congestion at Chinese ports and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The city account for roughly 80% of all the Christmas related exports from China and has been a main wholesale and exporting hub for other consumer trinkets. Nearly half of all the goods made in the city goes to the U.S.
China accounts for about 12% of global trade and Covid restrictions have idled factories and warehouses, slowed truck deliveries and exacerbated container logjams.