Shanghai To Extend Lockdown Again To Entire City As Tests Show Covid-19 Spread

SHANGHAI, China – Chinese officials extended a lockdown in Shanghai to all of the city’s 26 million people on Tuesday, April 5, after city-wide testing revealed a spike in new COVID-19 cases to over 13,000 despite public outcry over quarantine laws.

The city-wide lockdown has been extended until further notice as restrictions in the city’s western districts were extended in what has become a key test of China’s zero-tolerance campaign to eradicate the new coronavirus.


At least 38,000 people have been dispatched from various provinces to Shanghai in what state media has termed the “largest nationwide medical operation” since the city of Wuhan was shut down in early 2020 following the first reported coronavirus outbreak there.


Authorities showed no signs of shift as a rising number of people expressed their dissatisfaction with the lockdown through social media comments and videos.


“Shanghai’s pandemic prevention and control are at the most difficult and most critical stage,” Wu Qianyu, a municipal health commission official, said during a press conference.


“We must adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearance without hesitation, without wavering.”


On Tuesday, Wu remained silent on the outcry over children being separated from their parents, but on Monday, April 4, she stated that positive children must be separated.


After initially taking a more targeted approach, Shanghai enforced strict limitations last week as it attempted to curb what has become the city’s largest COVID-19 outbreak.


Thousands of residents have been placed in rudimentary quarantine facilities after testing positive, regardless of whether or not they are symptomatic.


It was unclear when they would be released, according to Jane Polubotko, a Ukrainian marketing manager being kept at the city’s largest quarantine center.


“Nobody knows how many tests we need to get out,” she said.


In an interview with the Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily over the weekend, Chen Erzhen, a doctor in charge of one Shanghai quarantine facility, said it was possible that authorities would revise guidelines and allow asymptomatic people to stay at home, especially if the number of cases increased.


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


Sun Chunlan, the vice-premier in charge of COVID prevention, asked Communist Party grassroots organizations to “do everything possible” to assist citizens with issues such as access to medicine, food, and water.


Shanghai authorities reported a total of 13,086 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on Monday, up from 8,581 the day before, after the city-wide testing program swabbed more than 25 million people in less than 24 hours.


According to the government, 25.7 million specimens were taken in 2.4 million test tubes, and over 80% of the total had been examined by Tuesday morning. Positive outcomes are followed up on a case-by-case basis.


Shanghai has a far greater proportion of asymptomatic cases than the rest of the world, which has been attributed to a screening mechanism that identifies infected persons before they become sick.


Experts said it didn’t explain why the number of symptomatic cases reduced to 268 on Monday, down from 425 the day before.

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