Shanghai tomorrow is to lock down a district of 2.7 million people to conduct mass testing for COVID-19, city authorities said yesterday, as the Chinese metropolis struggles to fully emerge from punishing curbs.
The city eased many restrictions last week, after confining most of its 25 million residents to their homes since March as China battled its worst COVID-19 outbreak in two years.
However, the lockdown was never fully lifted, with hundreds of thousands in China’s biggest city still restricted to their homes and multiple residential compounds put under fresh stay-at-home orders.
The southwestern district of Minhang, home to 2.7 million people, would be placed under “closed management” tomorrow morning and all residents would be tested, district authorities said in a social media post.
“The closure would be lifted after the samples have been collected,” they said, without giving a specific time or date.
The statement also did not say what measures would be imposed if any district residents test positive.
Under China’s “zero COVID-19” approach, all positive cases are isolated and close contacts — often including the entire building or community where they live — are made to quarantine.
Shanghai reported nine new local infections yesterday, with none of them in Minhang.
The district’s announcement sparked fear among some social media users that the lockdown could be prolonged if any cases are found.
“You need to clarify if [the lockdown] will really be lifted after samples are collected,” one person wrote.
“If there are abnormal results after the tests, what will you do? Continue the lockdown?” another asked.
The city government denied rumours that the rest of the city would lock down again in phases, saying that while individual areas had issued confinement orders, the city as a whole was “gradually resuming normal production and life.”
The lockdown in Shanghai — a major global shipping hub — had threatened to pile further pressure on already-strained international supply chains.
However, the city has slowly come back to life in the past few days.
Commuters are back on subways and buses as people return to working in their offices, while residents have gathered in parks and along the city’s waterfront.
However, others are chafing under continued restrictions, with residents in one compound in Xuhui District protesting against the rules this week.
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