Shanghai remains under lockdown for 26 million residents for COVID-19

 Wednesday, April 6, 2022 

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Shanghai, the busiest city in China will remain under lockdown as it reviews results of an exercise to test all of its 26 million residents for COVID-19, authorities said on Monday. The city began its two-stage lockdown on March 28, initially in Shanghai’s eastern districts, and later expanded to cover the whole city.

The curbs, which have massively disrupted daily life and business operations in China’s financial hub, were initially scheduled to end at 5 a.m. local time (9 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday.

The city government said on its official WeChat account that the city will continue to implement seal and control management and strictly implement ‘staying at home’, except for medical treatment,” the.

It did not give an indication of when the curbs might lift. The country sent the military and thousands of healthcare workers into Shanghai to help carry out COVID-19 tests for all of its 26 million residents on Monday, in one of the country’s biggest-ever public health responses.

Some residents woke up before dawn to stand in queues for white-suited healthcare workers to swab their throats as part of nucleic acid testing at their housing compounds.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday dispatched more than 2,000 medical personnel from across the army, navy and joint logistics support forces to Shanghai, an armed forces newspaper reported.

About 38,000 healthcare workers from provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and the capital Beijing have been dispatched to Shanghai, according to state media, which showed them arriving, suitcase-laden and masked up, by high-speed rail and aircraft.

It is China’s largest public health response since it tackled the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first discovered in late 2019. The State Council said the PLA dispatched more than 4,000 medical personnel to the province of Hubei, where Wuhan is, at that time.

Shanghai, which began a two-stage lockdown on March 28 that has been expanded to confine practically all residents to their homes, reported 8,581 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 425 symptomatic COVID-19 cases for April 3. It also asked residents to self-test on Sunday. The city has emerged as a test of China’s COVID-19 elimination strategy based on testing, tracing and quarantining all positive cases and their close contacts.

The country has 12,400 institutions capable of processing tests from as many as 900 million people a day, a senior Chinese health official was reported as saying last month. China’s primarily uses pool testing, a process in which up to 20 swab samples are mixed together for more rapid processing.

The city has also converted multiple hospitals, gymnasiums, apartment blocks and other venues into central quarantine sites, including the Shanghai New International Expo Center which can hold 15,000 patients at full capacity.

The individuals who refuse to be tested for COVID-19 for no justifiable reason will face administrative or criminal punishment, Shanghai police said on Saturday.

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