China announces another massive lockdown
Some 26 million residents of China’s economic capital of Shanghai will be confined to their homes as Beijing imposes a massive citywide lockdown starting on Monday in a bid to maintain a ‘zero-Covid’ policy.
The lockdown will be conducted in two phases. First, Shanghai’s Pudong financial district and nearby areas will be quarantined from Monday to Friday. Second, Pudong will pass the baton to the vast downtown area west of the Huangpu River, which will start its own five-day lockdown on Friday.
To control the growing outbreak, the lockdown will be accompanied by a new round of mass nucleic acid testing across the city, China’s Xinhua reported, citing Shanghai officials. Beijing recorded 3,500 cases of the infection on Sunday.
As all residents are required to stay at home and avoid any contact with the outside world, all public transport in the locked-down areas will be suspended.
Groceries will be delivered and left at checkpoints. All non-essential businesses in Shanghai will close their offices, making employees work from home.
The decision comes as Beijing continues to abide by its zero-tolerance policy towards Covid-19. In line with the policy, China’s authorities are free to use public health measures such as mass testing, contact tracing, and lockdowns in order to stop community transmission of the virus as soon as it is detected.
The goal is to get the area of an outbreak back to zero new infections and resume normal economic and social activities as soon as possible. The policy has been criticized by many, however, who argue that it takes too much of an economic toll.
Last week, China recorded its largest spike in new Covid infections since the beginning of the pandemic, which led to Beijing’s decision to put over four million residents of the northeastern city of Jilin under a massive lockdown to curb the spread. The newly announced Shanghai lockdown is the most extensive in the past two years.