Shanghai enforces new COVID testing, some areas in China extend barriers

Shanghai enforces new COVID testing, some areas in China extend barriers

SHANGHAI / BEIJING, July 18 (Reuters) – Several major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, are rolling out new mass tests or expanding barriers for millions of residents to counter new clusters of COVID-19 infections, with some measures being criticized on the internet .

China has reported an average of around 390 local daily infections over the seven days ending on Sunday, higher than around 340 seven days earlier, according to Reuters estimates based on official data from Monday. read more

Although small compared to a resurgence in other parts of Asia, China is determined to implement its dynamic zero COVID policy to eliminate outbreaks as soon as they appear. Earlier, when a flare-up became a major outbreak, local officials had been forced to take tougher measures such as month-long shutdowns, even at the expense of economic growth.

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Sustained outbreaks and more closures could put pressure on the world’s second largest economy, which fell sharply in the second quarter from the first after extensive shutdowns of covid caused industrial production and consumption costs to cease. read more

The commercial hub in Shanghai, which has not yet fully recovered from the harsh two-month shutdown in the spring and still reports daily sporadic cases, plans to hold mass testing in many of its 16 districts and in some smaller areas where new infections have recently been reported. reported, after similar testing last week. read more

“There is still an epidemic risk at the societal level so far,” the city council said in a statement.

Shanghai reported more than a dozen new cases, but none were found outside quarantine areas, local government data showed Monday.

“I’m speechless,” said a Shanghai resident with the surname Wang, who is already being tested every weekend in her apartment complex. “It sounds like a waste of resources that does not solve the real problem.”

The northern city of Tianjin, which launched several rounds of mass testing in recent months to curb previous outbreaks, said on Monday that it was once again testing its more than 12 million inhabitants after two local infections were found.

In the northwestern city of Lanzhou, a closure in four large districts with around 3 million inhabitants that started last week has been extended to July 24.

In the central Chinese city of Zhumadian, locks for millions of people in a few cities under its jurisdiction have been extended for a few days to Monday or Tuesday.

The southwestern city of Chengdu said on Monday that it suspended various entertainment and cultural venues, and expanded such curbs over the weekend that had been limited to a few districts.

The capital Beijing, after a week of zero local infections, found two cases on Monday – one international flight crew member and the person’s roommate. Authorities have sealed affected buildings.

‘NO HUMANITY’

Authorities in the southern Guangxi region said late Sunday that they had removed two officials in the city of Beihai from their jobs for misconduct in their COVID response.

Beihai, with a population of 1.9 million and currently over 500 infections, has launched several rounds of mass testing and locked some areas.

On Sunday, more than 2,000 tourists were stuck in the city.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, covid inspectors broke down the locks on the apartment doors without the consent of the residents, and caused a scream on social media over the weekend.

Authorities in a Guangzhou district on Monday apologized to residents.

The problem was among the most popular topics on China’s Twitter-like social media Weibo.

“It’s too cruel, too ridiculous,” wrote a Weibo user. “No humanity, no law.”

In the northeastern city of Changchun, subway passengers were asked to wear N95 masks throughout the trip. Many cities, including Beijing, require only surgical masks.

Changchun has been ready for local affairs since mid-May, while a smaller town nearby under its jurisdiction has reported fewer than 20 cases since July 15.

Jin Dong-yan, a virology professor at the University of Hong Kong, said N95 respirators are able to offer better protection than surgical masks during major outbreaks, but may be of low cost-effectiveness in areas with low COVID risk.

“In a city without cases, the N95 mask mandate would be painful and inconvenient.”

(This story corrects to show that the two cases found in Beijing are not both local cases, clarifies Changchun case details, paragraphs 13, 22)

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Brenda Goh, Ryan Woo and Shanghai Newsroom; Edited by Jacqueline Wong and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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