New outbreaks lead to business closures, but impact to be temporary
Published: Oct 31, 2021 07:53 PM
A medical worker takes a a swab sample from a citizen for nucleic acid testing in Xining, northwest China's Qinghai Province, Oct. 28, 2021. After Xining reported 3 new COVID-19 cases, local control of epidemic prevention has been strengthened.Photo:Xinhua

A medical worker takes a a swab sample from a citizen for nucleic acid testing in Xining, northwest China's Qinghai Province, Oct. 28, 2021. Photo:Xinhua


Ongoing sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks in several cities and provinces in China have led to a new round of business closures, ranging from scenic spots to indoor entertainment places like cinemas and KTV halls in certain areas, raising concerns about the potential impact on domestic consumption in the fourth quarter.

Experts said that any impact on full-year GDP growth will be very limited - at around 0.5 percent or less, as the current temporary business closures won't be a hurdle but rather a necessary and beneficial step for the economic recovery in the long term.

On Sunday, Shanghai Disney Resort issued a notice, stating that Shanghai Disneyland and Disney Town will be immediately closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Authorities in Beijing's Haidian district has issued a notice that all indoor entertainment places such as KTV halls and internet cafes, as well as on-site training classes, were to be suspended starting from 2 pm on Saturday. 

Beijing's Xicheng district also suspended cinemas starting from Saturday to November 14, for epidemic prevention.

Beijing is not alone. Scenic spots and some cross-provincial tours have been closed or suspended from operating in areas with reported cases. Northwest China's Gansu Province recently issued a notice to temporarily suspend all scenic spots in the province.

During the 14-day period that ended at midnight on Friday, 14 provinces across the country had reported new local confirmed cases or asymptomatic infections, media reports said. The current epidemic situation is still developing rapidly.

Epidemic prevention and control rules have discouraged people from traveling.

Because of the recent stricter epidemic prevention and control rules, "my plan to travel outside Beijing has been temporarily shelved," Wang Lin, a Beijing resident, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Despite the potential impact, the situation is expected to be soon under control, with the high vaccination rate and strict but necessary epidemic prevention rules, experts said.

China's top respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan said on Saturday that he believes it will be effectively controlled within a month.

The added value of tourism and related industries nationwide in 2019 was 4.5 trillion yuan ($700 billion), accounting for 4.56 percent of GDP, and that may fall to about 4 percent due to the epidemic, Li Changan, professor of the Academy of China Open Economy Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Li rejected suggestions by some foreign media outlets that the new outbreaks could mean consumption spending in China will stagnate. 

"If the outbreaks can be prevented and controlled in the short term, consumption such as tourism spending will definitely rebound," Li said.

Global Times