The Covid-19 outbreak in China has had significant impacts on the global supply chain. As the epicentre of the outbreak, China has implemented measures such as lockdowns, quarantines, and travel restrictions in order to contain the spread of the virus. These measures have disrupted the operations of businesses in the country, including factories, which has led to delays in the production and transportation of goods.
Part of the reason the outbreak in China has been so bad, is that a large percentage of China is immunocompromised, or immunologically naïve. This is not a myth, China has had a considerably poor vaccination rate. While many have had a dose of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, very little have had a booster. Combine this with the fact that many Chinese living in large supercities have a weaker immunity and higher risk of transmission, and most importantly, the vaccine used is a variant of the original ‘Wuhan strain’.
This means it is less efficacious than Western mRNA vaccines, especially against new variants and mutations quickly circulating within China. The problem with this is not specifically the risk of contracting it, or the rate it is being contracted, but the length of infection. Many people experience prolonged symptoms and infectiousness due to being immunocompromised, rather than the typical sub-1-week infection.
The effects of these disruptions have been felt around the world, as many countries rely on China for supply and manufacturing of products, including electronics, clothing, and industrial components. This is especially disruptive to the healthcare market, where critical supply of product often originates from China. This includes PPE, plasticware, tests and diagnostic equipment, dressings, surgical consumables, patient care supplies and much more, so you can visualise the potential impacts of this outbreak.
In addition to the direct impacts on production, the Covid-19 outbreak has also led to a disruption in the transportation of goods. Air travel has been significantly reduced, which has hindered the movement of goods by air cargo. Many shipping routes have also been disrupted, as ports in China have implemented measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Aside from this policy-based restriction, this is coupled with a drastic workforce reduction.
Other effects are obvious – the knock-on effect of a slowing supply chain is a slowing economy and hindered trade. Thankfully, Westlab have a focus on sovereign manufacturing and European, Eurasian and American manufacturing to provide supply chain guarantees, and quality products.