COVID-19: China issues lockdowns amid Omicron outbreak

Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses the current outbreak of COVID-19 in China and what it means for the country's zero-COVID policy.

Video transcript

JARED BLIKRE: Welcome back. Another COVID milestone, this time in China, where the number of COVID cases this year has already topped that of 2021. All the more notable in light of their zero COVID policy that's leading to new lockdowns across the country. And here to break down all the latest for us is Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani. And Anj, what are we to make of this here?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, Jared, what we know is that this is their Omicron wave. We know the devastation that we saw here in the US, and then the increased number of cases specifically that we saw there. So what we're seeing right now is China really having to deal with this testing both their zero code policy as well as their vaccines. Right now, we're looking at more than 2,100 cases in a day, and that is really leading to a lot of concerns and constraints harkening back to the way that they handled this back in 2020 with Wuhan.

We're seeing the lockdown of Shenzhen-- that's their Southern city, which is a tech hub, and where Apple suppliers are. So that's going to be stopping production for about a week until March 20th, and that started today. And the rule is that residents have to be tested three times a week, until then, as well as public transportation being [? stopped. ?] So it's really-- you know, we've heard experts say, well, it's not 2020 anymore, and in some cases, it really is.

We know that Jilin province, for example, in the northeast, is the first province to be locked down since Wuhan was back in 2020. And we know that another city as well, where Volkswagen has their suppliers, is also on lockdown. And that's as of Friday. So a lot of just really strong restrictions there like we haven't seen in the past two years, and really concerning for what the virus really holds moving forward.

We know that this has also impacted Hong Kong, which has taken to quarantining amid ongoing pressure from China to do more for their zero COVID policy, but not taking any more steps just yet. We also know that in Europe, they are still seeing that BA.2 waves in some areas, and that is keeping some health experts on alert on whether or not it might ever have any impact here. That's been something that they've been looking at for about a month now. So we'll have to see how this all pans out. But really, what it is just adding to what has already been a pretty concerning wave, and a pretty concerning strain as we wait to see how the virus plays out for the rest of the year.

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah. Pretty amazing to see more lockdowns two years into the pandemic. Thank you for that report, Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani.