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Shanghai to mass test half the city, sparking fears of new lockdown

The mass testing bulletins sparked fears of a return to stringent, extended lockdown amongst Shanghai residents, a lot of whom had been confined to their properties for 2 months or extra since March.

These fears have triggered panic shopping for. On Thursday, Shanghai residents rushed to supermarkets to top off on meals and different day by day requirements, forming lengthy strains at checkouts and leaving cabinets empty, in line with images and movies that circulated on social media.

At the very least seven of the town’s 16 districts, with a mixed inhabitants of 15 million folks, will roll out mass testing over the weekend, Zhao Dandan, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Well being Fee, stated at a information convention Thursday. The districts embody Shanghai’s most populated areas and busy enterprise hubs, resembling Pudong and Xuhui.

Districts which have reported optimistic circumstances since Shanghai lifted its citywide lockdown on June 1 might be positioned underneath “closed administration” through the assortment of take a look at samples, Zhao stated. She didn’t specify how lengthy the sampling interval will final.

In China’s zero-Covid coverage lexicon, “closed administration” normally refers to restrictions that bar folks from leaving their residential communities or workplaces.

However the mass testing marketing campaign extends far past the seven districts named by the Shanghai well being authorities.

On Thursday night, Changning district, house to the Shanghai Hongqiao Worldwide Airport and 700,000 residents, introduced on its official social media account that it’s going to perform mass Covid testing on Saturday.

“In the course of the sampling interval, closed administration might be enforced on residential communities, the place (residents) can solely enter however not go away,” the assertion stated.

Earlier on Thursday, Songjiang district additionally stated on social media that its 1.9 million residents are all required to endure Covid testing over the weekend.

Workers in hazmat suits set up barriers outside a building in Shanghai on June 9 to prevent residents from leaving.

Abrupt U-turn

Chinese language leaders have repeatedly vowed to stay to the zero-Covid coverage, which goals to swiftly stamp out native outbreaks with mass testing, snap lockdowns, intensive contact tracing and quarantining.

Officers warn {that a} leisure of the coverage will result in a surge in hospitalizations and deaths among the many nation’s aged inhabitants — a lot of whom have but to be absolutely vaccinated.

However the technique is dealing with rising problem from the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, and inflicting mounting discontent amongst residents whose life have been often disrupted.

In China, detection of a single optimistic case can ship a whole constructing or group into authorities quarantine, and place a number of close by neighborhoods into lockdown for 2 weeks.

Because the easing of restrictions on June 1, Shanghai has continued to report Covid circumstances, together with amongst residents outdoors quarantined areas. In consequence, an rising variety of neighborhoods have been positioned again underneath stringent lockdown.

Shanghai neighborhoods return to lockdown a day after restrictions eased

A video obtained by CNN exhibits excessive fences erected to cordon off a big part of the tree-lined former French Concession space in downtown Shanghai.

On Thursday, Shanghai authorities reported six new native Covid circumstances, three of which have been traced to a downtown hair salon. State media had earlier reported that three workers on the salon examined optimistic, seemingly ensuing within the quarantine of 13 different staff and 502 prospects — and their shut contacts — who visited the salon prior to now week.

One Shanghai resident instructed CNN that greater than 200 folks residing in two buildings of their neighborhood have been positioned underneath lockdown, after two residents there have been recognized as shut contacts of the hair salon circumstances.

In the meantime in Beijing, the town’s largest district introduced Thursday the closure of all leisure venues, together with bars, web cafes and a few sports activities amenities, simply days after permitting them to reopen.

The abrupt U-turn got here after authorities reported three native Covid circumstances, all linked to a bar in Chaoyang district, house to the capital’s foremost nightlife scenes. A number of different districts in Beijing have since introduced related closures.

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