China locks down key iPhone city as daily COVID cases hit record high
China has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, as Beijing authorities lock down more areas this week — including parts of the central city Zhengzhou, where Apple's main iPhone factory is located.
The latest: China hit a new daily record for a second straight day on Friday as authorities moved to enforce restrictions in an attempt to control outbreaks across the country, per Reuters.
State of play: Beijing eased some pandemic measures earlier this month, including reducing quarantine periods, in an attempt to cause less disruption to the world's second-largest economy.
- However, authorities are now moving to cordon off major cities "block by block" and introducing other curbs while conducting mass testing in an attempt to curb surging COVID cases, Bloomberg reports.
- It's triggered panic-buying in parts of Beijing, and grocery stores the capital's largest district, Chaoyang, have stopped accepting orders due to delivery apps being inundated with requests, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, some 6.6 million Zhengzhou residents were affected by five-day stay-at-home orders that began Thursday — including the area where Apple manufacturer Foxconn's factory is located and where police in hazmat suits clashed with workers following a pay dispute Tuesday and Wednesday, AP reports.
Of note: Chinese President Xi Jinping's zero-COVID policy has already increased wait times for Apple's newest iPhone 14 Pro models as fresh restrictions in China hamper production during the tech giant's most crucial time of the year, the holiday quarter, Axios' Hope King writes.
- Foxconn issued a statement earlier this month that it was "operating at significantly reduced capacity."
By the numbers: China's National Health Commission said Thursday 31,454 local COVID cases were recorded within the past 24 hours.
- That broke the previous record set in April when financial hub Shanghai was on lockdown when 29,390 COVID cases were recorded, AFP notes.
- On Friday, Reuters reports that the NHC recorded 32,695 domestic infections.
The big picture: Nearly three years into the pandemic, China is the last major economy to have retained the strategy of trying to keep out the virus by imposing strict measures such as lockdowns and quarantines.
- Outbreaks of defiance from citizens against the sustained strict measures first emerged earlier this year, with spasmodic protests erupting in the face of food shortages, family separations and lost wages from lockdowns.
- It's also impacted the country's economy, along with global business, though China's gross domestic product grew 3.9% from a year earlier in the third quarter of the year.
Yes, but: Activity is slumping and growth is set to fall far short of the ruling Chinese Communist Party's 5.5% target, AP notes.
Go deeper: China's shifting economic storyline
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.