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China Premier Keqiang warns of 'grave' jobs crisis as Covid lockdowns bite

China's top leaders doubled down on the nation's Covid-Zero strategy last week

China | Coronavirus


Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned of a “complicated and grave” employment situation as the country imposes sweeping lockdowns to contain Covid outbreaks.

Li instructed all government departments and regions to prioritize measures aimed at helping businesses retain jobs and weather the current difficulties, according to a statement late Saturday which cited the premier’s comments in a nationwide teleconference on employment.

“Stabilizing employment matters to people’s livelihoods, it is also a key support for the economy to operate within a reasonable range,” Li said, urging businesses to resume production with Covid-fighting measures in place.

China’s top leaders doubled down on the nation’s Covid-Zero strategy last week, warning against any attempts to question the lockdown-dependent approach even as economic activity contracted sharply in April amid factory closures and supply-chain disruptions.

reported 4,384 new Covid-19 cases for May 7. Shanghai, which has been under some form of lockdown for weeks, recorded 3,975 new infections, down from 4,000-plus daily infections earlier. The financial hub announced Saturday it would postpone entrance examinations for colleges and high schools until July, while some of the city’s biggest manufacturers have said they are trying to restart plants.

Beijing logged 62 new cases as authorities in the capital scramble to contain a wider spread. Its eastern Chaoyang district, home to embassies and offices of multinationals including Apple Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., ordered the closure of some businesses providing non-essential services such as gyms and movie theaters to minimise infections.

Li reiterated at the meeting that will also promote the healthy development of internet platform companies to support employment.

Chen Yulu, vice governor of the People’s Bank of China, said the central bank would put a greater focus on stabilizing growth and increase support for the real economy. In a Xinhua interview published Saturday, Chen also said authorities will help smaller banks increase their lending capability through the sale of perpetual bonds.

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First Published: Sun, May 08 2022. 09:59 IST