(Bloomberg) -- Lockdowns in China are spreading with the city of Langfang, located just 55 kilometers from Beijing, joining Shenzhen in imposing restrictions as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the mainland more than doubled.

The lockdowns, which also include Jilin province, are hitting the supply chains of a wide variety of business as more than 40 million people are restricted from leaving their homes. The biggest maker of Apple Inc. iPhones is halting production at its Shenzhen sites while output has been disrupted at plants making cars for Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

Since quelling the original outbreak that emerged out of Wuhan, China has had long virus-free stretches and one of the lowest fatality rates of major economies. The country of 1.4 billion hasn’t seen a Covid death since January last year. But maintaining that is becoming increasingly difficult -- and disruptive -- with more transmissible virus variants like omicron making their way through the tough border curbs and mass testing efforts that are the hallmark of China’s Covid Zero strategy. 

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases pass 458 million; deaths top 6 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 10.9 billion doses administered
  • Serious Covid Linked to Higher Risk of Depression Months Later
  • Foxconn Halts IPhone Production in Shenzhen After Lockdown
  • How Australia’s Swift Effort to Crush Covid Saved Lives
  • San Francisco Mayor Plans Europe Trip to Lure Overseas Tourists

China Reports 5,154 New Local Covid Cases for Monday (9:06 a.m. HK)

China reported 5,154 new Covid-19 infection on Monday, more than double the number a day earlier, as the country fights to contain the latest outbreak. 

There were 3,507 new local infections confirmed and 1,547 asymptomatic cases, according to a government statement. The northeastern province of Jilin reported 4,067 local infections.

Shanghai Reports 139 New Cases for Monday (7:51 a.m. HK)

Shanghai reported 139 new Covid-19 cases as the city works to contain the latest wave of infections. 

The city has already suspended in-person classes and shut intercity bus services while Shanghai Tower, the country’s tallest building, was locked down on Monday as authorities race to contain the outbreak.

China Locks Down Langfang City Near Beijing Due to Covid (7:20 a.m. HK)

China has immediately locked down the city of Langfang in the northern province of Hebei to curb the spread of the latest Covid outbreak, according to a local government statement. 

Langfang is located about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from the capital of Beijing.

China Lockdowns Hit Production for Toyota, VW to Apple Suppliers (7:17 a.m. HK)

Lockdowns aimed at stemming the spread of Covid-19 in China are disrupting the operations of a raft of businesses, with more than 40 million people restricted from leaving their homes as the country faces the biggest challenge to its pandemic containment efforts yet. 

Key Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. said it was halting production at its sites in Shenzhen, the southern technology hub that was locked down with little notice on Sunday, its public transport networks halted and 17.5 million residents ordered to limit their movements. 

Unimicron Technology Corp., a maker of printed circuit-boards, also suspended output in Shenzhen, and BYD Co., the Shenzhen-based car and battery maker backed by Warren Buffett, said it was seeing some impact on production. The lockdown, China’s first of a so-called tier-one city, is expected to last until at least March 20, with three rounds of mass testing planned to root out cases. 

Indonesia to Allow Visa on Arrival for China, India Travelers (7:09 a.m. HK

Indonesia will allow visitors from China and India to get their visas on arrival and have quarantine-free entry to Bali, according to Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno. 

The government will add more G-20 countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy to the list, Uno said in a press briefing on Monday.

Japan Plans to End Covid-19 Measures in Tokyo, Sankei Says (6:58 a.m. HK)

The Japanese government plans to lift Covid-19 quasi-emergency measures in Tokyo and 16 other prefectures when they expire on March 21, the Sankei newspaper reports, citing several unidentified officials.

Daily infections are slowing and the government sees strain on medical capacity easing as booster shots among elderly people progress. It’s still undecided on whether to end the Covid-19 measures in Osaka prefecture, Sankei said.

Shanghai Cancels Hundreds of Flights Amid Surges: SCMP (6:46 a.m. HK)

Hundreds of flights to Shanghai were canceled Monday amid a Covid resurgence in the financial hub, the South China Morning Post reports.

About 800 arrivals and departures via Shanghai’s Pudong airport were canceled as of 4 p.m. local time Monday, the SCMP said, citing Chinese provider of aviation data VariFlight Technology. At Hongqiao airport, nearly 500 flights were scrapped.

New Zealand Teenagers Face Omicron Without Booster Shot (4:20 a.m. HK)

New Zealand teenagers will remain ineligible for Covid-19 booster shots for several more weeks, even as the omicron outbreak runs through universities and schools.

Government ministers are not expected to make a final decision on boosters for 16 and 17 year olds until April “at the earliest,” said Astrid Koornneef, Director of the National Immunisation Programme. Pfizer boosters are currently only approved by medicines regulator Medsafe for those aged 18 years and up.

New Zealand’s omicron outbreak has been particularly acute at high schools and universities, raising concern for under 18s who are unable to get the third vaccine shot considered necessary for the fullest protection against the virus. Since August, 20% of reported community cases are aged 10 to 19, according to Health Ministry data.

U.S. Sewer Data Warns of a New Bump in Covid Cases After Lull (2:25 a.m. HK)

A wastewater network that monitors for Covid-19 trends is warning that cases are once again rising in many parts of the U.S., according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by Bloomberg.

More than a third of the CDC’s wastewater sample sites across the U.S. showed rising Covid-19 trends in during early March, though reported cases have stayed near a recent low. The number of sites with rising signals of Covid-19 cases is nearly twice what it was during the Feb. 1 to Feb. 10 period, when the wave of omicron-variant cases was fading rapidly.

It’s not clear how many new infections the signs in the sewage represent and if they will turn into a new wave, or if it will be just a brief bump on the way down from the last one. In many parts of the country, people are returning back to offices and mask rules have been loosened — factors that can raise transmission. At the same time, warmer weather is allowing people to spend more time outside, and many people have recently been infected, which may offer at least temporary protection against getting sick again – factors which would keep cases down.

U.K. to Scrap Pandemic Rules on International Travel This Week (1:32 a.m. HK)

Boris Johnson’s U.K. government will scrap the remaining coronavirus-related restrictions on international travel from the end of this week, marking the end of nearly two years of measures.

Although the harshest rules had already been lifted, the move will be welcomed by the aviation and tourism industry who blame the measures as acting as a deterrent to travel.

Currently people arriving in England who have not yet had a Covid-19 vaccine must take a test before arrival, while all passengers need to fill in a passenger locater form. Both requirements will be dropped from Friday morning.

Moderna, Covid Vaccine Stocks Surge After Lockdowns in China

Moderna Inc. was the top performer on the S&P 500 Monday, jumping as much as 21%, amid renewed Covid-19 fears as parts of China went into lockdown. 

German biotechnology company BioNTech SE surged as much as 18% for its biggest one-day gain since November, while partner Pfizer Inc. climbed as much as 5.3%. Vaccine makers had been battered this year as investors shifted away from risky growth stocks, with the group trading well below records reached in 2021. 

While the surge in China is being attributed to the omicron variant, the country is unlikely to order shots from Moderna, “Covid newsflow drives investor fears that the pandemic would take longer to resolve and more doses will be needed around the world,” said Jefferies analyst Michael Yee. 

Why China Is Sticking With Its Covid Zero Strategy: QuickTake

U.K.’s Over 50s Were Most Likely to Quit Workforce in Pandemic (7:13 p.m. HK)

Britain’s over 50s were most likely to leave the workforce in the pandemic, suggesting most of the more than half million employees who fell out of the jobs market won’t come back.

A surge in economic inactivity where people are out of work and not looking for a job is part of what’s tightened the U.K. jobs market, pushing up wages and fanning inflation. The government and Bank of England are looking for ways to loosen that pressure and halt the rise in prices across the economy that’s coming from higher wages.

Jabs for Younger Indian teens (7:09 p.m. HK)

The Indian government has expanded Covid-19 vaccination to include those between 12 and 14 years of age from March 16. The children will be administered doses of Biological E. Ltd.’s Corbevax while those 15 and older are receiving Covaxin or Covishield jabs. 

India has also eased the criteria for booster doses and will now allow for all citizens above the age of 60 to get a third shot. Earlier only those elderly with co-morbidities could get a booster dose. The country has administered 1.8 billion vaccine doses so far and recorded almost 43 million confirmed Covid infections so far.

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