Red alerts in China when it floods maroon equipment to fight the coronavirus

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Large parts of China on Friday bounced back from the worst floods in decades as disruptions to supply chains, including personal protective equipment (PPE), vital in the fight against the new coronavirus, increased. .

The central city of Wuhan and Anhui, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces declared red alerts as heavy rains flooded rivers and lakes.

Wuhan, on the banks of the Yangtze River, where the new coronavirus emerged late last year, has warned residents to take precautions as water levels rapidly approach their guaranteed maximum level of safety.

The summer rainy season brings flooding to China almost every year, but the impact of the disruption they cause is felt even more as Chinese goods become more important in global supply chains for various items, including PPE. .

“It is simply creating another major hurdle here in terms of PPE entering the United States; it is the worst case scenario for it to happen, but that is what we are dealing with right now,” said Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, U.S. medical supplies distributor, which obtains disposable lab coats and other products from Wuhan and nearby regions.

“We cannot take the product out for more than a week, which is a long time in our business,” he said, adding that the delays could last up to three weeks.

Xiantao, just west of Wuhan, is the largest Chinese manufacturer of non-woven fabrics used in the production of EPP. A third of China’s total non-woven fabric exports are from the city.

With the relentless rain, more misery seems inevitable.

The giant Three Gorges reservoir, which has been holding more water to try to alleviate downstream flood risks, is more than 10 meters higher than its warning level, with inflows now over 50,000 cubic meters per second.

Lake Poyang in Jiangxi province, which forms from the Yangtze overflow, is 2.5 meters higher than its warning level. It has expanded over 2,000 square kilometers during the flood season, and parts of the surrounding city have been flooded.

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Further east, Lake Tai near Shanghai has also declared a red alert after its water level rose nearly a meter higher than its safe level.

Economic activity in other parts of China, especially construction and demand for steel and cement, has also been affected by the floods, analysts say, suggesting a loss of momentum after a stronger-than-expected rebound in the second trimester due to the coronavirus crisis.

“We estimate that recent flooding in the Yangtze River regions could lead to a 0.4-0.8 percentage point gross load on third-quarter GDP growth,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients on Friday.

Report by David Stanway; Robert Birsel and Gerry Doyle Edition

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