China Eases Covid Restrictions in City With Key iPhone Plant

China Eases Covid Restrictions in City With Key iPhone Plant

The Chinese city of Zhengzhou shuttered hundreds of buildings and apartment blocks hours after lifting broader lockdown measures, as officials strive to make their Covid controls more targeted in line with Beijing’s directives.

The city, home to Apple Inc.’s largest manufacturing site in China, said late Tuesday that it was lifting a lockdown of its main urban areas put in place five days ago as Covid cases climbed. Authorities then issued a lengthy list of buildings that would be declared high risk spanning the greater Zhengzhou region, which means they will continue to be subject to lockdown-style curbs.

The shift comes after China’s top health officials in Beijing reinforced an order for local cadres to avoid excessive curbs in containing the virus, following weekend protests where demonstrators took to the streets in several major cities in opposition to the stringent Covid Zero policy.

As of Nov. 30, Zhengzhou will remove so-called mobility controls — a euphemism for lockdown — and replace them with “normal Covid-combating measures,” according to a post on the local government’s official WeChat account. Businesses will be allowed to resume operations in an orderly manner, and people outside of the high-risk areas won’t be subject to regular mandatory Covid tests as long as they don’t leave home.

Beijing is urging local authorities to adhere to a 20-point playbook for virus control issued just over two weeks ago after a meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top leadership body. While the guidelines caution against broader lockdowns and excessive mass testing, officials on the ground have struggled to control outbreaks in a more targeted way — instead reverting to the cruder, wider measures of old.

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