People familiar with the situation claimed Shanghai is increasing its already rigorous COVID-19 lockdown in a new drive to eliminate infections outside quarantined sections of China’s largest city by late this month.
Curbs will likely vary among the city’s 16 districts, as some have already met the objective, but movement restrictions will be in place until the end of May, according to the sources, due to fears of a recovery, despite recent drops in case counts in the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.
According to locals in many regions as well as social media posts, the city’s authorities is speeding up and expanding efforts to transfer close contacts of positive cases to central quarantine centers.
Residents said they were forced to shift to such facilities despite testing negative when instances were discovered in their buildings, adding to their frustrations.
Other residents reported their housing compounds warned them on Saturday that they wouldn’t be permitted to leave their front doors or estates, or receive deliveries for a week as part of efforts to accomplish the “zero cases at community level” goal.
A request for response from the Shanghai authorities was not immediately returned.
Thousands of instances are reported every day in Shanghai, with the vast majority occurring in closed-off places such as central quarantine facilities, businesses managed in a “closed loop” system, and homes where occupants are prohibited from leaving their front doors.
Ending community-level transmission outside of such locations has been a turning point in lockdowns in cities like Shenzhen, which reopened public transportation and allowed people to return to work last month.
In the face of the infectious Omicron strain, Shanghai has failed to stop community transmission. Authorities had hoped to achieve the objective by April 20, according to Reuters, but just two districts were able to accomplish so.
Residents of housing complexes classed as the city’s lowest-risk “prevention” regions were told they couldn’t leave their premises on Saturday by authorities in Putuo and Changning districts.
A resident in Shanghai’s financial enclave, Pudong New Area, told Reuters that he had received a similar notice from his compound.
Residents from nine housing compounds in the Xuhui district, which contains the former French Concession area, told Reuters that their neighborhood committees informed them on Saturday that they would be prohibited from leaving their front doors or receiving deliveries for at least a week.
“The goal is to obtain ‘zero cases at the community level’ as soon as feasible,” according to a notice seen by Reuters in Xuhui. The curbs would be in effect until May 15, according to the statement.
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After a person tested positive, a neighborhood committee claimed on its official WeChat account that it had to transfer all of the tenants of one building and disinfect the area for the safety of the community.
Residents were told they had to move to quarantine after a neighbor tested positive, according to a video uploaded thousands of times on social media by hazmat-suited cops.
One officer explains, “This is so that we can properly eradicate any positive cases.” “Stop asking me why, because there isn’t one. We must follow national rules as well as the epidemic control policies.”
The footage could not be independently verified by Reuters.
Only two times, on April 30 and May 1, has Shanghai reached citywide COVID-19 zero outside quarantine areas. Since then, daily cases have been in the double digits. According to city officials, regions that had no cases outside of quarantine for three days were regarded to have met the target.
Shanghai recorded 11 cases outside of confined areas across five districts on Saturday.
Officials have been vague about how they plan to lift the lockdown in the future, warning the public not to become complacent.