China’s grain production to hit by Covid lockdown

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China being the world’s largest grain consumer imported 28.35 million tonnes of corn in 2021 from Ukraine and US….reports Asian Lite News

Lockdown enforced in twenty-three cities of China, especially in the three main grain-producing provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang, on account of coronavirus, is likely to adversely affect the grain production and ultimately the food security of China.

As per reports, these three provinces alone contribute more than 20 per cent of China’s aggregate domestic grain production but the delay caused in planting fresh crops during the ongoing crucial spring planting season on account of the non-availability of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and labour may jeopardize China’s pursuit of achieving self-sufficiency in staple foods.

China being the world’s largest grain consumer imported 28.35 million tonnes of corn in 2021 from Ukraine and US.

Recently, on April 1, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Hu Chunhua stated that the demand for corn has outstripped supply in China and the country must work together to boost output.

Shanghai seeks medical care

China’s financial hub, Shanghai, has been facing the worst COVID-19 outbreak and has been desperately seeking medical care and basic supplies like food.

Shanghai authorities have imposed draconian lockdown measures since March that have locked 25 million residents in their homes with Chinese military and national health care workers. And parents are forcibly separated from their young children, who were infected with COVID-19. These circumstances are making people furious against the government, CNN reported.

“We are not killed by Covid, but by the Covid control measures,” one popular comment on the highly censored Chinese social media platform Weibo was quoted as saying by CNN.

On Wednesday, the country filed close to 20,000 new Covid cases, crossing the peak of new Covid cases which was recorded in Wuhan in 2020, at the onset of the pandemic.

According to the National Health Commission, by the end of March, the virus had spread to 29 of China’s 31 provinces.

On April 1, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that China would “continue to focus on dynamic zero-Covid policy,” according to CNN citing Global Times.

He further said that loosening the restrictions and opening borders could create many problems such as (a squeeze on) medical resources and rising fatalities.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Sun Chunlan, Vice Premier People’s Republic of China, said that the city needed “a more determined attitude, more powerful actions, and more efficient coordination” to achieve zero-Covid, according to CNN.

On April 3, the Chinese government announced the deployment of thousands of military personnel to Shanghai to assist in the mandatory testing of all 25 million residents for the virus that causes Covid-19. On April 4, Shanghai authorities said the city would indefinitely remain under lockdown – meaning that residents are not allowed to leave their homes, as it reviews the results of the mass Covid testing.

Numerous netizens took to Chinese social media to share stories of their or their loved ones being denied access to medical care for non-Covid related illnesses either due to hospitals being closed because of Covid-restrictions, or the lack of health care workers because they were quarantined or got diverted to administer Covid tests.

So far, Shanghai authorities defended the policy, stating that anyone found positive – regardless of age – must be isolated from non-infected people and that a parent can only be quarantined with their child if both are infected.

China’s much-publicised ‘zero-covid’ strategy that the government credited for bringing the country out of the pandemic till recently is falling apart as the rapidly mounting cases are again forcing mass lockdowns like those seen in 2020. (ANI)

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