Beijing has ordered all provincial-level governments to keep airports, harbours and highways open so that transport and logistics links can be maintained amid strict anti-pandemic controls . Local authorities must not erect roadblocks or put healthy truck drivers into quarantine either, the State Council – China’s cabinet – said on Monday evening, as it sought to ensure the supply of food and key materials to virus-hit areas is disrupted as little as possible. “The central government is taking action to facilitate cross-provincial transport after gateway cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen were hit by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19 pandemic,” said Xiong Hao, an assistant general manager at Shanghai Jump International Shipping. “Things will get worse if logistics services are disrupted .” The circular sent out by the State Council stressed that an unbroken logistics chain is essential to underpin the national economy. It did not mention the names of specific virus-hit regions. The executive order from the cabinet comes after foreign businesses lobbied central government to grant more special passes to lorry drivers as Shanghai, the epicentre of China’s latest Covid-19 outbreak, went into lockdown, with reduced handling capacity at its major airports and seaports. As of Monday, the mainland’s commercial and financial capital had reported 205,000 infections since the latest outbreak began on March 1, most of which were asymptomatic. Shanghai went into a citywide lockdown on April 5 after the municipal government reversed an earlier plan, ending a two-phased shutdown of Pudong and Puxi, the eastern and western sides of Huangpu River. The key harbours in Shanghai, Yangshan Deep-Water Port and Waigaoqiao Port, remain operational under a “closed loop” system – workers essentially living on site to avoid contact with outsiders – but a lack of manpower and lorries means they can use only about half their capacity. Bettina Schoen-Behanzin, chair of the European Chamber of Commerce’s (EUCham) Shanghai chapter, said restrictions preventing lorry drivers going to areas neighbouring Shanghai to pick up cargo have created a “black hole” in the logistics chain, which is of vital importance to multinational manufacturing businesses operating in China. Lorries without special passes granted by the national transport authorities are unable to travel between Shanghai and the surrounding provinces. The circular did not address this issue specifically or say whether more drivers would be given the go-ahead to work during the pandemic, though it did say that cross-provincial trucking services should be protected. ‘You are positive if I say so’: Shanghai residents fear inaccurate Covid tests Tesla’s Gigafactory 3, which delivered 484,130 vehicles in 2021, just over half of its global total of 936,000 units, has suspended production since March 28 because it could not secure sufficient car components and protective gear to keep the assembly line running under the “closed loop” system. It is also actively looking for trucks with special passes to transport components and finished Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, according to a supplier with knowledge of the situation. Shanghai has yet to unveil a timetable for easing the lockdown as it pledges to stick to the government’s zero-Covid approach. The city added 26,087 new cases on Monday, rewriting the daily Covid-19 infections record for a 10th straight day.