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Setback In Shanghai As New Covid Cases Reported Beyond Lockdown, Beijing Carries Out More Mass Testing



Shanghai—which has largely remained under lockdown for more than a month—faced a setback on Monday as officials detected 58 new Covid-19 cases outside neighborhoods that are under complete lockdown, potentially delaying reopening plans while Beijing carried out another round of mass testing in the city as more infections emerge.

Key Facts

According to China’s National Health Commission, a total of 7,333 new Covid-19 cases were detected in Shanghai on Monday, while Beijing reported 41 new infections.

Shanghai reported 32 new deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, down from 38 a day earlier.

While the number of new cases in Shanghai have been trending downward, Monday’s figures are a blow as all new cases in the city from the previous two days had been reported in areas that are completely sealed off.

Millions in the Chinese financial hub have been under stringent lockdown, but people in some neighborhoods with zero cases have been allowed to step out of their houses.

While cases in Beijing have not surged upwards like Shanghai, authorities in the city have failed to completely stomp them out with several dozens being reported every day.

The Chinese capital has been desperately trying to avoid a Shanghai style lockdown but officials have shut down dining at restaurants while several schools in the city have switched over to remote learning.

Big Number

454. That’s the total number of deaths that the city of Shanghai has reported since the start of its current outbreak in March. The ongoing outbreak in the city now accounts for more than 9% of all Covid-19 fatalities that China has reported since the start of the pandemic. However, some have still raised concerns that Shanghai’s actual toll may be significantly higher than what has been reported so far.

Key Background

The detection of new cases outside sealed off neighborhoods in Shanghai is a blow to the city’s plan to achieve what it calls “societal zero Covid” where new cases are only detected among people who are already under quarantine or their close contacts. Despite a lockdown that has lasted more than a month for millions of residents in Shanghai, authorities in the city have not been able to fully stomp out the spread of the virus, prompting frustration and anger. The woes of Shanghai’s locked down masses have been made worse by food shortages and stringent quarantine norms for infected individuals. In a desperate bid to avoid Shanghai’s fate, Beijing has continued to carry out multiple rounds of mass testing on its population of around 21.5 million residents. A city official has warned that Beijing’s outbreak is at a crucial juncture now as while most new cases have been detected among people under quarantine, some of the infections have also been found in the larger community.

Further Reading

Setback for Shanghai’s COVID battle; Beijing focuses on mass testing (Reuters)

China’s ‘zero-COVID’ restrictions curb May 1 holiday travel (Associated Press)

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