26 million people have been locked down in Shanghai after tests revealed COVID-19 cases

  • Growing public anger over strict lockdown measures
  • 26 million people closed in Shanghai
  • Increase in cases after citywide blitzkrieg

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese authorities extended Shanghai’s lockdown to all 26 million residents of the financial center on Tuesday, after citywide testing drove new COVID-19 cases to more than 13,000 amid growing public anger over the quarantine. . Rules.

The lockdown now covers the entire city after restrictions were extended in the city’s western neighborhoods until further notice, in what has become a major test of China’s zero-tolerance strategy to stamp out the novel coronavirus.

At least 38,000 personnel have been deployed to Shanghai from other regions in what state media have described as the largest nationwide medical operation since the lockdown of Wuhan in early 2020 after the first known outbreak of the coronavirus.

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The city’s quarantine policy has been criticized for separating children from their parents and placing asymptomatic cases among those showing symptoms. Some public health experts say it is no longer an effective strategy.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea because we know a lot more than 24 months into the epidemic,” said Jaya Dantas, professor of international health at Curtin University in Australia, adding that China’s strategies are “resource-intensive” to combat Covid. 19 need revision.

Members of the public shared videos via social media to express their concern about the lockdown.

Sun Chunlan, China’s vice premier in charge of COVID prevention, urged grassroots party organizations to “do everything possible” to help residents solve their problems, such as ensuring access to medicine, food and water.

Thousands of Shanghai residents have been locked up in rudimentary “central quarantine” facilities after they tested positive, whether or not they had symptoms.

Jane Poloputko, the Ukrainian marketing director now detained in the city’s largest quarantine center, told Reuters it was not clear when they would be released.

“No one knows how many tests we need to get out,” she said.

In an interview with the People’s Daily of the Communist Party of China on Saturday, Chen Arzin, a doctor in charge of a quarantine facility in Shanghai, said it was possible that China would revise guidelines and allow asymptomatic patients to stay at home, especially if it continues. number of cases. multitudes.

“The most important thing is the personal compliance problem,” he said.

increasing cases

Shanghai imposed strict restrictions last week as authorities struggle to contain what has become the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the city, following a more piecemeal approach.

“At present, the epidemic prevention and control in Shanghai is at the most difficult and most dangerous stage,” Wu Qianyu, an official with the Municipal Health Commission, said at a press briefing on Tuesday. “We must adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearance without hesitation and without hesitation.”

Shanghai reported 13,086 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on April 4, authorities said on their WeChat channel, up from 8,581 the day before, after a citywide testing program screened more than 25 million people in 24 hours.

The government said it collected 25.7 million samples in 2.4 million test tubes on Monday, and nearly 80% of the total had been tested by Tuesday morning. Any positive results are monitored individually.

The proportion of asymptomatic cases is much higher in Shanghai than in the rest of the world, which is attributed to the screening process that picks up infected people before they get sick. But experts said they did not explain why symptomatic cases fell on Monday to 268 from 425 the day before.

Analysts outside of China warn of the economic costs of the campaign to curb infection.

“The most noticeable thing in Shanghai is the difficulty the authorities face in managing logistics, particularly the conditions in the central quarantine facilities,” said Michael Herson, a China analyst at Eurasia Consulting Group.

“Given that Shanghai has a highly capable government, the current problems are a warning to local governments across China where capacity is not high and a significant outbreak could maximize resources.”

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(Reporting by David Stanway and Brenda Goh) Editing by Richard Boleyn and Stephen Coates

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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