A worker in a protective suit swabs a woman for a COVID-19 test at a testing site in Beijing, April 27, 2022 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Wary of the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, officials in Beijing ordered 20 million residents across nearly a dozen districts to undergo mass testing earlier this week, after dozens of new coronavirus cases were detected in the Chinese capital. Though authorities have stopped short of confining residents to their homes for now, fears of an impending lockdown like the one imposed in Shanghai have prompted a wave of panic buying across the city. City residents have stocked up on food and other essential supplies, stripping the shelves of supermarkets bare. “My colleagues in Shanghai learned the lesson the hard way—they are […]

A worker in PPE disinfects the neighborhood in Shanghai, China Friday, April 08, 2022 (FeatureChina via AP Images).

This time last year, China appeared to be bouncing back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and leading the world’s economic recovery after a pandemic-induced slowdown. But after a recent spike in infections that confined an estimated 50 million people to lockdown, the “Zero COVID” policy that initially kept the worst of the coronavirus at bay is now the biggest threat to China’s economic growth. China’s economy exceeded market expectations in the first quarter of 2022, growing 4.8 percent, according to data released Monday by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. The figure is a decline from the previous year’s 8.1 percent […]

Customers look through empty shelves at a supermarket in Shanghai, China, March 30, 2022 (AP photo by Chen Si).

Shanghai is gradually easing the draconian lockdown it implemented since late March following the largest nationwide outbreak of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. The extended shutdown led to widespread shortages of food and supplies across China, triggering an uproar against the country’s “Zero-COVID” policy. But with the number of daily infections topping 20,000 this week and the virus spreading to other provinces across the country, China is far from out of the woods. The two-phase lockdown was originally supposed to last four days each for Pudong and then Puxi, which comprise the city on either side of the Huangpu River. But it […]

Matumelo Manosa works in a garment factory in Maseru, Lesotho, Feb. 24, 2022 (AP photo by Neo Ntsoma).

In the second quarter of 2022, economic forecasts are looking positive, and analysts are especially hopeful about new power dynamics emerging in Western economies and job markets. According to Forbes, for instance, 2022 has encouraged a “buyers market” in which “employees are demanding better work-life balance and companies are taking note.” There is much evidence to support this claim. With the ball in their court, workers are now demanding more flexible work schedules, as well as better pay and benefits, and companies seem to be responding positively. Many have extended work-from-home policies implemented at the onset of the pandemic, while a […]