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Line two metres apart: China officials warn residents over daily covid cases surge

The city government of China extended the existing lockdown in eastern districts, while western areas of the city were shut down as planned.

Chinas Shanghai extends covid curbs as daily cases surge - adt
Shanghai, First Published Apr 1, 2022, 11:30 AM IST

Shanghai, China's commercial hub, came to a halt on Friday after its government ordered a lockdown in most of the city, around 26 million residents, to limit the spread of COVID-19, despite official figures showing a drop in local cases for the second day in a row.  

On Thursday, the city government lengthened the existing lockdown in eastern districts, while western areas of the city were shut down as planned.

As per new official guidelines, many people in China's most populous city will now be compelled to stay at home for as long as it takes to control the outbreak, even dispose of the garbage or walk their pets.

Non-essential businesses, including restaurants and shopping malls, have also closed. Public transportation in the city has also been suspended.

The lockdown, which began on Monday and was supposed to last ten days, was placed to prevent an outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant that began roughly a month ago. East of Shanghai's Huangpu River would be closed for five days before reopening, while western districts closed for five days.

However, the city government stated that it would ease the curbs in Shanghai's east in stages instead.

That shows that many districts are presently under lockdown, including office towers of the Lujiazui district, China's answer to Wall Street, and factories, including Volkswagen's joint venture with SAIC Motor and U.S. automaker Tesla's plant.

As per the global standards, China's outbreak is minor. However, Shanghai reports three out of every four local asymptomatic cases across the country, emerging as the testbed for the national government's treatment of COVID - a "dynamic clearance" method that seeks to test for, trace, and centrally quarantine all positive cases. 

Officials stated that the city's daily sum of infections eased for the second day in a row on Friday. With 4,144 locally transmitted new asymptomatic cases and 358 symptomatic cases reported on Thursday, the previous day's figures were 5,298 and 355. 

On the other hand, some people are sceptical of the daily tally, wondering how swiftly positive instances are recorded in the system.

Shanghai publishes a daily list of addresses where cases have been discovered. Still, several residents claim their housing compounds were only listed days after their neighbours tested positive - or not listed at all.

The city authority of Shanghai has not immediately responded to a request for a statement on the scepticism over case numbers. 

During the lockdown, the residents must do nucleic acid testing by healthcare workers in hazmat suits. They are only allowed to leave their apartments for examinations, which will happen in or near their housing complexes.

Officials have asked the residents to line up two metres apart for testing amid public concerns over contagion risks. 

The Shanghai New International Expo Center, which usually organises trade fairs such as the Shanghai Autoshow, has been converted into the city's largest central quarantine centre, with over 15,000 beds, according to media reports. 

Also Read: Ivermectin fails to reduce risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19

Also Read: China's COVID-19 cases almost doubled, records worst outbreak since 2020

Also Read: Omicron BA.2: ‘Variant of concern’ spreading rapidly globally

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