More than a dozen Chinese provinces announced an extension of the current Lunar New Year holiday by more than a week as the nation attempts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus that has killed hundreds of people and sickened thousands.
Fourteen provinces and cities have said businesses need not start operations until at least the second week of February. They accounted for almost 69% of China’s gross domestic product in 2019, according to Bloomberg calculations.
All the key eastern manufacturing provinces have extended the holidays. They include Guangdong, home to the tech city of Shenzhen across the border from Hong Kong; Shanghai, home to China’s largest port and a newly-built Tesla plant; as well as Jiangsu, where Nike shoes are manufactured. Henan in central China, which has a large Foxconn plant making iPhones, also announced the extended break.
The extended holidays come on top of other measures including quarantining whole cities that are set to disrupt supply chains and logistics, prompting economists to expect that this virus will deal a more severe blow to China’s economy in the near term than the effect of the Sars outbreak in 2003.