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China widens COVID curbs, Apple factory unrest adds to economy worries

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Chinese authorities imposed more restrictions on Wednesday to rein in a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections, adding to investors' worries about the economy just as fresh unrest at the world's largest iPhone factory highlighted the social and financial toll of these curbs.Across China, cities including the capital Beijing and financial hub Shanghai have closed malls and parks, and imposed limits on the movement of people arriving from elsewhere as infections neared record highs last seen in April.The measures are darkening the outlook for the world's second-largest economy and dampening hopes that China would significantly ease its outlier coronavirus policy any time soon."While there is little prospect of the authorities opting to step back from the zero-COVID policy during the winter, there is a significant risk that containment efforts fail," analysts at Capital Economics wrote in a note.

Such a failure could result in more lockdowns which would cause unprecedented damage to the economy, the analysts added.China's COVID curbs, the tightest in the world, have fuelled discontent across the country and affected production at several manufacturers including Taiwan's Foxconn, Apple Inc's biggest iPhone supplier.On Wednesday, scenes broadcast live on social media showed people describing themselves as Foxconn workers pulling down barriers and fighting with authorities in hazmat suits, chanting "give us our pay".

The unrest follows weeks of turmoil which has seen scores of employees leave the factory over COVID controls.Even though infection numbers are low by global standards, China has stuck with its zero-COVID approach, a signature policy of President Xi Jinping that officials argue saves lives and prevents the medical

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