Photo taken with a drone on July 27, 2021 shows temporary laboratories for nucleic acid testing at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Sports Park in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province. (Photo: Xinhua)

A new wave of COVID-19 infections in many places across China has prompted rapid anti-virus efforts from authorities, including the closure of tourist attractions and the imposition of travel restrictions, sparking concerns about potentially profound disruptions to China’s hard-won and robust economic recovery in the second half of the year.

Given the severity of the new outbreaks triggered by the much more transmissible Delta variant and strict anti-virus efforts across the country, including economic powerhouses in the east and south of the country, many industries and businesses, including including tourism, travel and entertainment, could be affected, analysts said Tuesday.

However, analysts predicted that the new wave is likely to be contained fairly quickly and that the overall and robust economic recovery will remain intact, citing China’s experience in tackling new epidemics, strong economic fundamentals and many policy tools. to cushion any potential negative impact.

Full-year GDP growth is still expected to exceed 8%, well above the official target of over 6%, they noted.

The new epidemics, which started in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, and have since spread to many cities across the country, including Beijing, have been described as the most severe since the outbreak of the last year in Wuhan, Hubei province (central China).

China on Tuesday reported a total of 61 new local cases for Monday, including 45 cases in Jiangsu province and one in Beijing.

The response was swift. As of Tuesday, almost all provinces, municipalities and regions in China had taken anti-virus measures. In Beijing, after strict restrictions on non-essential travel and traffic at tourist attractions, catering businesses such as coffee bars were closed, according to reports online Tuesday. Jiangsu on Tuesday suspended taxi services and domestic flights to and from Nanjing and Yangzhou. In Hunan Province (central China), all tourist sites in the famous city of Zhangjiajie have been closed.

Outbreaks and subsequent anti-virus efforts will likely affect some industries and businesses directly involved, including tourist attractions, major entertainment businesses, catering, accommodation, airlines and travel agencies, according to Jiang Yiyi, director. Assistant of the School of Recreational Sports. and tourism under the Beijing Sports University.

“There were high expectations for summer travel, but the virus surge could signify the goal of full recovery in the [tourism sector] would be delayed, “Jiang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The tourism sector and related businesses such as travel, catering, accommodation and entertainment have been among the hardest hit and are also the most vulnerable in the new epidemic. Unlike rapid recoveries in other sectors, China’s tourism sector remains under pressure. In the first half of the year, domestic travel amounted to around 1.9 billion, up 100.8% year-over-year, but only 60.9% of the pre-market level. pandemic in 2019.

Given the growing role of the domestic service sector in overall economic growth, some are concerned about the impact of the new epidemic on China’s economic recovery. Some foreign media have even predicted that Chinese GDP growth could slow significantly in the second half of 2021.

However, the impact is so far limited to certain companies in certain areas, and the overall nation-wide recovery process, including in these sectors, will not be derailed, analysts said.

“The loss of the tourism sector in these regions is now under control,” Jiang said, adding that once the new epidemics are under control, the recovery will resume quickly.

The new epidemics have hit some of China’s economic powers, including Guangdong, Jiangsu and Shandong – the country’s three main provincial-level economies. While the new outbreak may be disruptive to some businesses, these areas are also best placed to tackle the spread and rid themselves of the impact. The local GDP of these three provinces grew faster than the national growth rate of 12.7% in the first half of the year.

For the national economic recovery during the rest of the year, the new epidemics, while posing some uncertainties, will not derail the overall recovery, as the country is well prepared for potential risks and challenges, analysts said.

Tian Yun, former vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association, said if the virus continues to spread, the impact could be severe, especially on the service sector, but the uncertainty posed by the pandemic has also been taken into account in defining China’s social situation. and the objectives of economic development with a “cautious” attitude.

Despite rapid growth in the first half of the year, China has set itself a relatively lower growth target for the year: above 6%. Despite the new epidemics, China’s GDP growth is expected to well exceed 8% in 2021. The IMF, for example, has forecast that China’s GDP will grow by 8.1% during the year.

In addition to China’s experience and ability to curb new epidemics, analysts cited the country’s preparedness and sufficient political tools to deal with potential economic challenges.

A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Friday stressed that the national economic recovery is still not firm and unbalanced and called for “coherent, stable and sustainable macroeconomic policies” to keep the economy within a range. appropriate, according to Xinhua.

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