China’s Biggest COVID-19 Lockdown in Shanghai

Story Highlights
  • China reports exponential surge since Wuhan outbreak.
  • 9 day lockdown imposed in two stages across Shanghai.
  • 3500 asymptomatic cases were reported on Sunday.

China: Witnessing drastic surge in COVID-19 cases, Shanghai- began its most extensive lockdown in two years Monday to conduct mass testing and control a growing outbreak in Shanghai as questions are raised about the economic toll of the nation’s “zero-COVID” strategy. Around 3500 new asymptomatic cases were reported on Sunday. According to reports, this total accounted for 70 per cent of the infection nationwide. As many as 50 symptomatic cases were found, the govt health dept said on Monday.

Testing has been ramped up. It is aimed to completely eradicate potential hidden risks and clear all cases as soon as possible, said a local epidemic expert at a news briefing on Monday morning.

Citing the outbreak, the biggest in the COVID history of China, the authorities have launched a two-stage lockdown for 9 days barring 26 million people.  Areas surrounding the city will be lockdown from Monday to Friday as citywide mass screening commences.

In the second phase, the vast area of the downtown area west of the Huangpu River would follow restrictions for the next five days starting from Friday.

Public transport will be suspended and firms and factories must halt operations or work remotely, authorities said.

The city government published the instructions on its WeChat account, asking the public “to support, understand and cooperate with the city’s epidemic prevention and control work”. Residents will be required to stay home and deliveries will be left at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. Offices and all businesses not considered essential will be closed and public transport suspended.

Already, many communities within Shanghai have been locked down for the past week, with their housing compounds blocked off with blue and yellow plastic barriers and residents required to submit to multiple tests for COVID-19.

Panic-buying was reported on Sunday, with supermarket shelves cleared of food, beverages and household items. Additional barriers were being erected in neighbourhoods Monday, with workers in hazmat suits staffing checkpoints.

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