Chinese authorities took urgent action to contain a Covid-19 outbreak in Shenzhen, a metropolis of 17.5 million people on the Hong Kong border. The metropolis has now been placed under complete lockdown, forcing residents to work from home if possible.
Shenzhen is a well-known technology and financial powerhouse, and any effect on the former might send shockwaves down the IT supply chain. The lockdown, which began today, is scheduled to finish on March 20. However, the government's experience with the lockdown shows that the date may be pushed further into the month.
The Associated Press provides further context for the lockdown and the period preceding China's decision to shut down Shenzhen entirely. It reports that 60 new Covid cases were reported in Shenzhen on Sunday, which prompted the government to impose a total lockdown. While 60 instances may seem little, the government must act with urgency and caution against a virus that has the potential for exponential proliferation. For example, nearby Hong Kong recently succumbed to a large wave of illnesses, with over 32,000 cases identified and 190 deaths reported on Sunday. Compare that to the 60 documented cases in Shenzhen and 1,412 reported cases throughout the whole Chinese mainland. And, let us be honest, 60 officially recorded instances does not always equate to 60 genuine cases.
It isn't the first lockdown for the region and it doesn't look like it will be the last pandemic-caused lockdown of a vital tech hub in China, especially as the trigger number of infections seems to be relatively low.