SHANGHAI: Manufacturers including Tesla began preparing to reopen their Shanghai factories on Monday, as the city accelerated efforts to exit a COVID-19 lockdown that has forced most businesses in China’s economic hub to shut for nearly three weeks.
Tesla has recalled workers to its factory to prepare for the restart, two sources told Reuters.
They added that while the US automaker had initially intended to resume one production shift on Monday it was now looking to do so on Tuesday.
One of the sources said one reason was because a supplier was facing issues with logistics.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SAIC Motor, the Chinese partner of Volkswagen and General Motors, said it would start stress-testing its production resumption plans on Monday.
The lockdown has ground business to a halt in China’s most populous city, while wider curbs are rattling global supply chains and taking a mounting toll on the world’s second-largest economy during a key year for President Xi Jinping, who is expected to secure a third leadership term in the autumn.
China’s supply chains must be stabilized, vice premier says
China’s supply chains must be stabilized amid COVID-19 outbreaks, with local governments helping key companies get back to work, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Vice Premier Liu He as saying.
Growing COVID-19 flare-ups are snarling China’s logistics chains, clogging highways and ports, stranding workers and shutting countless factories.
The disruptions are already spilling over into global supply chains.
Data on Monday showed a significant slowdown in March economic activity, and analysts say April is likely to be worse as tough lockdowns drag on.
Authorities must ensure traffic permits for drivers are recognized across the country, and transport should not be limited on the grounds of waiting for drivers’ COVID-19 test results, Xinhua said on Monday.
China’s industry regulator stepped in on Friday, publishing a “white list” of 666 firms mainly in Shanghai’s semiconductor, auto and medical supply sectors that it prioritized for ongoing operations.
An employee at a company on the list, who did not want to be identified as she is not authorized to speak publicly, was told by her employer that she could apply for a permit to drive to work or be picked up from home.
Companies applying to resume work must stock up on medical supplies and also establish closed loops for workers who must live at the workplace or be limited to traveling between work and home, according to guidance issued on Saturday.
Shanghai is under pressure to deliver on China’s COVID-19 elimination strategy, which largely kept the coronavirus at bay for the last two years but is increasingly challenged by the highly infectious omicron variant.
Shanghai has carried out more than 200 million PCR tests since March 10, when the city’s cases started surging, state media said.
Shanghai also reported that three people infected with COVID-19 died on Sunday, the first time during the current outbreak that it reported deaths among coronavirus patients.
The patients, two women and a man who were aged between 89 and 91 years, suffered from underlying health conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, the city said.