The city of Shenzhen, China—the world capital of vaping product manufacturing—has been locked down by Chinese health authorities because of a COVID-19 surge in neighboring Hong Kong. Hong Kong is considered an island, but actually has 11 crossings into Shenzhen, including multiple land crossings that allow automotive or rail travel.
The lockdown is scheduled to last eight days, until March 20, according to the Hong Kong Free Press. Shenzhen residents, except those who work in essential enterprises like food and energy, were told to stay home beginning Sunday. Public transit throughout the city will be shut down, and all 17.5 million residents will be tested for COVID at least three times during the eight-day lockdown. Some employees will be able to work from home.
The COVID lockdown will affect the Chinese vaping industry, which employs more than three million Chinese residents, according to the Shanghai Daily. There are more than 170,000 vaping businesses in the country—many of them located in Shenzhen. If the lockdown extends beyond a week, distributors in North America, Europe and Asia may begin to feel the effects.
Hong Kong health authorities reported more than 32,000 new COVID cases on Sunday, according to Sky News. More than 300,000 Hong Kong residents with COVID or with possible exposure are currently isolating at home in the city of 7.4 million.
Hong Kong authorities have reported nearly 700,000 COVID cases so far in 2022, according to the New York Times, and the city has averaged more than 24,000 new cases per day over the last week.
While mainland China reported just over 3,000 new COVID cases Sunday—and just 60 new cases in Shenzhen—Chinese authorities are taking no chances on the Hong Kong surge spreading to Shenzhen, the third largest city in China. Authorities have also partially locked down Shanghai, forcing inbound travelers to show a recent negative COVID test to gain entry to the city of 26 million.