BEIJING – China’s largest city Shanghai will soon begin dismantling communities that have not reported positive cases within 14 days after another round of COVID-19 tests, authorities said today. Saturday.
The new round of testing comes as the city reported about 23,000 cases on Saturday, most of whom were asymptomatic. Large swathes of Shanghai, with a population of 26 million, have been closed since March 28, leading to complaints from residents about shortages of food and essentials.
Separately, the Guangzhou government announced that the northwestern city of Hong Kong will also begin mass testing of its 18 million residents, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The city reported only two confirmed infections on Friday.
Under the new measures, areas in Shanghai will be classified as “precaution”, “control” or “lock down”, depending on the results of the latest round of testing, Shanghai Vice Mayor Zong Ming said. said in a press conference.
Residents in “precautionary” areas with no infections within the past two weeks will be able to move around their county, although gatherings will still be restricted. Meanwhile, in “controlled” areas, residents can move in their neighborhoods, which are smaller in area than the county, while “locked” areas will require all people at home.
During the press conference, Zong choked up and said that she was very touched by the efforts of the people and front-line workers. “There is still a big gap from people’s expectations. We will do our best to improve it,” she said.
The city has built more than 100 temporary hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients with more than 160,000 beds.
But harsh restrictions on movement have also tested residents’ patience. Some have received government food packages containing meat and vegetables. However, many are struggling to get their hands on rice and other basics, with online vendors selling out and delivery unable to keep up with demand.
China is facing one of the worst local outbreaks since the pandemic began.
It is one of the only countries to follow a “no COVID” policy, taking drastic measures like lockdowns and mass testing to identify and isolate each case. China remains closed to international travel, even as most of the world has managed to live with the virus.