Shanghai: Shanghai to maintain Covid restrictions as infections outside quarantine rise again

SHANGHAI: Shanghai Authorities said on Thursday that strict restrictions would remain in place for the time being, even in districts that have managed to reduce Covid-19 transmission to zero, as the number of cases outside the city’s quarantine zones has increased. increased again.
The sober assessment came after health officials earlier this week stoked hopes of a return to normal by saying trends in recent days showed Shanghai had “effectively curbed transmissions”.
The central district of Jingan, home to nearly a million people and some of the city’s glitziest shopping malls, said Thursday morning it would no longer allow any residents out of their homes, citing the risks of large gatherings.
At a regular press conference, the deputy governor of Chongming district, an outlying island region, said most curbs would be kept in place, although he reported no cases outside the areas of quarantine and that 90% of its approximately 640,000 inhabitants were now in theoretically authorized to leave their homes.
Supermarkets would remain closed to shoppers, vehicles would not be allowed on the roads without approval and only one person from each household would be allowed to leave their homes each day in some cities in Chongming, Vice Governor Zhang Zhitong said.
“For those in prevention zones, we need to continue to ensure they don’t become ‘free to fly’ zones,” he said, referring to neighborhoods where residents are allowed. to leave their homes.
Shanghai reported 15,861 new local asymptomatic coronavirus cases on Wednesday, down from 16,407 the day before. Symptomatic cases stood at 2,634, down from 2,494.
There were 441 new cases outside quarantine areas, up from 390 a day earlier.
A video of a tense interaction between a Jingan district resident and a neighborhood committee official was widely shared on Chinese social media on Wednesday night.
The resident repeatedly asks why she can’t go out when she lives in an area where leaving her home is permitted, only to receive the same response: “I told you we got a notice.” Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.
Eight more dead
Eight people with Covid-19 died in Shanghai on Wednesday, authorities said, bringing the death toll from the current outbreak to 25 – all recorded in the past four days.
Many locals, however, said a family member had died after catching Covid-19 since early March, but the cases had not been included in official statistics, raising doubts about their accuracy.
The Shanghai government did not respond to questions about the death toll.
State media reported on Thursday that the Shanghai government is investigating three funeral directors for refusing to provide funeral services using Covid as an excuse.
Shanghai ordered virtually all residents to stay home in early April after Covid-19 cases began to rise. Residents have faced loss of income, difficulty finding food, family separations and poor quarantine conditions.
With public frustration mounting, city officials said Thursday they would look into complaints from residents about the quality and expiration dates of products such as duck meat and cooking oil provided in rations. of the government.
Businesses are starting to reopen, although they must operate under “closed-loop management”, which involves living on site, daily testing and rigorous disinfection.
U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc is among 666 companies allowed to resume operations, and its reopening received generous airtime on state media this week. Economists and industry bodies warn, however, that factories are facing logistical nightmares and are far from resuming full production.
With most Shanghai residents stuck at home, the European Union Chamber of Commerce estimated that there were 40-50% fewer trucks available and less than 30% of the workforce in Shanghai was eligible to return to work.
Shanghai’s banking and insurance regulator on Thursday urged banks to provide loans to businesses returning to work.

Julio V. Miller