Zero Cars Were Sold in Shanghai Last Month

Lockdown hit city's economy hard
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2022 3:21 PM CDT
Zero Cars Were Sold in Shanghai Last Month
Workers in PPE unload groceries from a truck before distributing them to local residents under the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai last month.   (Chinatopix Via AP)

(Newser) – Shanghai is finally beginning to emerge from a long, harsh lockdown that was initially supposed to last only a few days—but the economic damage will take time to recover from. In what Bloomberg sees as evidence of how strict the lockdown was, not a single car was sold in the city in April, a month that usually sees tens of thousands of sales in China's biggest city. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says car sales nationwide slumped 46% in April from the previous month, with the country battling its biggest COVID outbreaks since the early weeks of the pandemic, CNN reports. Retail sales in general dropped sharply across China last month, along with industrial output.

Shanghai, which is also a major car manufacturing hub, announced a two-phase lockdown in late March—each half of the city was ordered to lock down for four days, though some residential compounds had already been locked down for weeks at that point. Only around a million of the city's 25 million residents are still confined to their homes under the strictest level of lockdown, though many more remain restricted to compounds. According to state media, the city has stamped out community transmission in 15 of its 16 districts and "normal life" should resume by June 1, Al Jazeera reports.

Shanghai says businesses are reopening and private cars will be allowed back on the roads next week. "Although state media has blithely reported that the 'hustle and bustle' is returning, it's difficult to verify that," says Robin Brant, the BBC's Shanghai correspondent. "I am still confined to my home. Other members of the BBC team here, in various places, face similar restrictions. Access to food and health care remains limited for some. Some shops are opening, but only 'offline' business will resume initially." (Read more Shanghai stories.)

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