An outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant of Covid-19 in southern China’s Fujian province has grown to 139 cases since Sept. 10. The shoe manufacturing hub of Putian is at the centre of the outbreak, with 75 cases in that city alone, some of which are linked to employees of a shoe factory.
More than 500,000 workers and 4,200 shoe manufacturers for international and local brands are based in Putian and the city produces more than 1.3 billion pairs of shoes each year. The city has already locked down and many factories have been forced to temporarily close. It’s unclear when lockdown orders will be lifted, though local authorities say the situation will be effectively under control by the end of the month.
This latest disruption is unwelcome news for many global footwear brands that are already facing supply chain issues due to a rise of delta variant infections in Vietnam, another shoe manufacturing hub, where some factories have been forced to close for months.
A severe outbreak of Covid-19′s Delta variant has prompted months-long factory closures that threaten the supply chains of companies like Nike and Adidas.