NANJING - While imposing strict measures including mass testing and widespread travel restrictions to contain the latest Delta variant outbreak, China, the world's second-largest economy, has continued to drive economic growth.
The Chinese mainland reported 24 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with the majority in Jiangsu province in eastern China, according to the National Health Commission. Jiangsu's Yangzhou has become the latest hotspot for this round of infections, logging 546 cases in total.
The recent COVID-19 resurgence first emerged in Nanjing, the provincial capital of Jiangsu, where several airport cleaners were found to be infected on July 20 during a routine test.
Chinese authorities have quickly clamped down on local flare-ups with measures like mass nucleic acid testing, targeted lockdowns, and travel restrictions, which has led to a distinct downward trend in new infections, as Nanjing, for example, has registered only one case in the past three days.
"The tightened measures will inevitably affect some people-intensive industries in the short run, but they are necessary for the long-term economic recovery," said Wu Chaoming, an economist with Chasing Securities, noting that China's economic recovery trend for 2021 is unchanged.
China's economy has staged a strong rebound, having grown 2.3 percent last year amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Owing to the low comparison base and its consolidating recovery, the country's economy expanded 12.7 percent year on year in the first half of 2021.
According to Wu, although the current Delta variant is highly contagious, its overall impact on China's economy may be more limited, because China is now experienced in containing the spread of the virus and can better coordinate control measures and economic development.