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China is closing Shanghai in two stages to manage Covid

Healthcare workers wearing protective equipment as a countermeasure against the Covid-19 coronavirus will walk the streets of Shanghai’s Jing’An district on March 26, 2022.

Hector Retamaru | Afp | Getty Images

Beijing — China’s largest city, Shanghai, has two stages on Monday as authorities have tried various strategies to sustain growth while trying to curb the worst Covid-19 outbreak in the country since the pandemic began. The blockade has started.

A city with a population of 26 million on the southeastern coast of China, Shanghai is the financial and international business center of China and also the world’s largest container shipping port.

The blockade included a work order at home, a suspension of public transport, and a call for boarding, the city of Shanghai announced on Sunday night. Previously, only certain areas faced temporary blockages to control outbreak pockets.

According to the city, the first stage applies from Monday to Friday morning in the eastern part of the city where the financial center is located, and the second stage applies to the western part of the city and takes place from Friday morning to afternoon. Next Tuesday, April 5, city officials said.

Bruce Pan, Head of Macro and Strategic Research for the Chinese Renaissance, said:

“We believe that in the near future, China will stick to and pursue a zero-tolerance approach. [its] Zero Corona has established itself as one of the strictest virus control policies in the world. “

According to Bloomberg, Tesla, whose Shanghai plant is in the first phase of the blockade, reportedly shut down production for at least one day on Monday. The electric vehicle company did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. ..

The emergence of highly contagious epidemic variants has made it difficult to control outbreaks and increased operational uncertainty. Local governments throughout China attribute the latest wave of cases to the Omicron subvariant BA.2.

China is sticking to its blockade and quarantine strategies to control the outbreak of Covid while maintaining economic growth. This policy has helped the country recover from the first shock of the pandemic in early 2020, with relatively few infections and deaths compared to other parts of the world. ..

This time, economists do not expect a one-week blockade to have a significant impact on the national economy for the whole year. Travel bans and home measures affect personal consumption and services more than workers produce. In most cases, you can stay on the grounds of the industrial zone.

Use of targeted measures

In Shanghai, authorities have emphasized in the past few weeks how the city has not closed and instead uses a neighborhood-specific approach. In a Sunday announcement, the city claimed that the two-part blockade was for batch virus testing.

The Shanghai International Port Group, which manages the city’s ports, said in an online statement Monday that the non-extreme weather production sector remains operating 24 hours a day.

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Authorities also do not totally ban Shanghai from entering and exiting during the two-step blockade, but those who wish to leave Shanghai by highway, train, or plane should within 48 hours of departure. He said the virus test needs to be negative.

Two airports in Shanghai (including one focused on international travel) and three train stations are still operating normally, the Municipal Transport Department said on Monday morning.

Surge in the absence of symptoms

The number of newly confirmed cases in the city is still increasing, and the number of asymptomatic cases is even higher.

Shanghai reported 3,450 asymptomatic cases on Sunday, the most common in any state-level region of mainland China. Shanghai reported 50 newly identified cases of Covid that same day.

According to the city, all 3,500 affected individuals are receiving isolated treatments or isolated medical observations.

In the latest update of Covid’s national policy on prevention and management, mild and asymptomatic cases are managed at the quarantine center without the need for hospital care added to China’s already expanding healthcare system. It says it can be done.

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Nationally, the northern province of Jillin accounts for the majority of 1,086 newly identified community-acquired cases out of 1,219 cases reported on the mainland on Sunday. The area is less than 10.

The Beijing capital did not report any new confirmed or asymptomatic cases of local infection on Sunday.

To show how authorities are trying to limit cross-country travel, China’s state rail operator announced on Saturday that travelers will not be able to book tickets after April 8. The railroad operator said.

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