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Shanghai may face another lockdown as Covid cases start emerging again

Shanghai may face another lockdown as Covid cases start emerging again

Shanghai may face another lockdown as Covid cases start emerging again

Shanghai may face another lockdown as Covid cases start emerging again

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  • Shanghai’s 16 districts are required to submit to two rounds of testing.
  • Authorities learned of a case of the new BA.5.2 subvariant.
  • Residents and Covid employees stand in long line for testing.
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Millions of people in Shanghai risked the searing heat on Tuesday to stand in line for required Covid testing as new worries of a mass lockdown were stoked by the increase in cases and the appearance of a highly contagious Omicron subvariant.

The bulk of Shanghai’s 16 districts are required to submit to two rounds of testing from Tuesday to Thursday after the city’s authorities learned of a case of the new BA.5.2.1 subvariant on July 8.

Authorities in China, the last major nation pursuing a strict zero-Covid strategy, view the quickly growing, highly contagious BA.5 strain as a serious concern.

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On July 10, a resident of Shanghai peers through a gap in a barricade enclosing a neighborhood under Covid-19 lockdown.

Numerous Chinese towns, including the nation’s capital Beijing, the port city of Dalian in the northeast, and the central city of Xi’an, which was shut down for seven days due to the outbreak, have all reported new Omicron subvariants.

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As a blistering heatwave sweeps the nation, the number of cases is rising, along with the limitations that go along with them. Authorities in Shanghai elevated the most severe red alert on Sunday as temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Residents, some of whom must wait hours in line, and Covid employees, who are completely wrapped in impermeable PPE equipment, have to endure the painful mass testing due to the oppressive heat.

Health professionals issued heatstroke warnings to Covid employees who work long hours outside while wearing heavy protective clothes as photographs of workers in hazmat suits laying on ice blocks went viral on Chinese social media.

Due to an epidemic connected to a karaoke bar, Shanghai experienced an increase in infections earlier this month. It has reported more than 400 instances in the last 10 days.

Only a few weeks after inhabitants of the business hub were released from a torturous two-month home confinement, the rising outbreak has fanned fears that the area is about to enter another mass lockdown.

The 25 million-person city stopped its citywide lockdown at the beginning of June, but it has since proceeded to enact stringent regulations, such as constant testing and sudden lockdowns of complexes where Covid cases were discovered.

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As of Tuesday, 240 Shanghai neighborhoods had been classified as medium- or high-risk locations and put under lockdown.

Shanghai officials have consistently denied that a citywide lockdown is imminent, but citizens have pointed out that they had previously been given the same assurances in March, just before the previous lockdown.

Residents in Shanghai were advised to “prepare food and medicines that can last for 14 days at home, to be on the safe side,” according to two neighborhood committees on Monday.

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After being extensively shared online, the messages sparked fear among the locals, many of whom are still traumatized by their extended isolation in April and May, which resulted in severe food shortages and restricted access to medical treatment.

A neighborhood committee employee responded to the outcry by telling the government-run Health Times that the idea was made to help residents get ready for the spreading outbreak because close contacts as well as secondary contacts of an infected case can also result in community lockdowns.

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On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, someone said, “Fine, let’s spend our whole life living in the fear of food scarcity and the shadow of hoarding daily necessities.”

“It’s been over three years, when will it be over? How many three years do people have in their lives? Enough is enough!” said another.

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