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China Launches Its Largest COVID -19 Lockdown in 2 Years –

BEIJING (AP) – China launched its biggest shutdown in two years on Monday to conduct mass testing and control the growing explosion in Shanghai as questions arise about the economic losses of the country’s “zero -COVID” strategy. .

China’s financial capital and largest city with a population of 26 million, Shanghai has handled its once-in-a-lifetime situation with limited housing closures and jobs where the virus has spread.

But the city -wide closure, which will be carried out in two stages, will be the largest in China since the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019, for the first time. 11 million people will return to their homes in 76 days. Since then millions more have been incarcerated.

The Shanghai Pudong Financial District and surrounding areas will be closed Monday to Friday while mass testing is conducted, the local government said. In the second phase of the closure, the large center west of the Huangpu River, which separates the city, will begin its five -day closure on Friday.

Residents are required to stay home and handover will remain at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. Offices and all activities deemed unnecessary will be closed and public transportation will be suspended.

This past week, many communities in Shanghai were confined, their homes were blocked by blue and yellow plastic barriers, and residents were required to undergo multiple tests for COVID-19. The Shanghai Disneyland theme park is among the businesses that have closed. According to media reports, carmaker Tesla will also suspend production at its plant in Shanghai.

Panic outbreaks were reported on Sunday, where supermarket shelves were cleaned of food, drinks and household items. Additional barriers were placed in districts on Monday, where workers work at checkpoints.

Personal observations at the April 5 Tomb Clearance Festival were canceled and an online memorial was held instead.

Some workers, including traders on the city’s stock exchange, are preparing to stay inside the COVID-19 “bubble” for the duration of the blockade.

Lee Giamin, 31, who works in the financial sector, said he packed a few days of clothes and belongings while his company took care of sleep and food.

“The overall impact is still huge,” Lim told The Associated Press, primarily referring to the losses suffered by workers in the informal sector without such support.

Huang Chim, 35, who works at a local university, said he had previously imprisoned himself and was preparing for a new round of provisions.

“I think, if the closure continues like this, the school staff won’t suffer so much, but what about those working in the real economy?” How can their businesses be maintained? ”Huang said.

“I still hope that our society will find a better balance between living normally and preventing and controlling epidemics,” Huang added.

An additional 3,500 cases of the infection were reported on Sunday in Shanghai, although all but 50 were people who tested positive for the coronavirus but had no symptoms of COVID-19. While asymptomatic people can infect other people, China separates these cases from “proven cases” – those who are sick – leading to lower numbers in daily reports. .

Nationwide, 1,219 newly confirmed cases of internal infections were reported on Sunday, including more than 1,000 in the northeastern province of Jilin, along with 4,996 asymptomatic cases, the National Health Commission said on Monday.

China recorded more than 56,000 confirmed cases nationwide this month, with the rise of jilin leading the way.

Jilin Province imposes travel bans and partial closures in several cities, including Changchun, one of China’s automotive hubs. Although there are more than 1,000 newly confirmed cases per day in the province, the prevention and control measures taken are not as extreme as elsewhere.

As usual, Jilin built pre-fabricated temporary wards to house COVID-19 patients and health care workers as suspected cases. The city of Suzhou, about an hour from Shanghai, as well as central Chansha County and Shenyang in the northeast, are also building structures that can accommodate more than 6,000 people.

Shanghai itself has rebuilt two gyms, an exhibition hall and other facilities to house potentially infected patients.

China has called its long-term strategy “zero tolerance” the cheapest and most effective prevention strategy against COVID-19.

The new measures in Shanghai aim to “prevent the spread of the virus, protect human life and health, and reach the goal of zero COVID dynamic as soon as possible,” the Office of COVID Prevention and Control said in a statement. 19 of the city Sunday night. .

This requires mass interception and examination, close contacts are often quarantined at home or in a central government facility. The strategy focuses on eliminating the transmission of the virus to the public as soon as possible.

While officials, including Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, are encouraging more targeted measures, local officials are taking a more drastic approach because they are worried about being cut off from work or if nor will it be punished on charges of preventing epidemics.

Recently, in Hunan province, where few cases have been reported, 19 officials were convicted of “vigorously integrating anti-pandemic policies,” state broadcaster CCTV reported Monday.

China’s economic growth has slowed, with drastic measures seen as worsening poverty in employment, consumption and global supply chains. It is a 21-day curfew for all foreigners coming from abroad, travel between China and other countries has dropped sharply.

On Friday, the International Air Transport Association announced it would move its annual general meeting from Shanghai to Doha, citing “ongoing travel restrictions on COVID-19 in China.”

“It is a great disappointment that we did not arrive in Shanghai as planned,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a press release.

However, Shanghai’s announcement of the dates on which the two blocks will be removed appears to indicate further refinement of the Chinese strategy. The lock that crossed the previous city is open.

Although the vaccination rate in China is approximately 87%, it is significantly lower in older people who are more likely to get the disease if they are infected with the virus.

Hong Kong chief executive Kerry Lam said the government was still considering next steps, which he criticized in response. The latest fifth wave of COVID-19 infections resulted in thousands of cases and more than 7,000 deaths.

Lam said no decision has been made on when to test the 7.4 million inhabitants of southern China’s semi-autonomous region.

“I don’t have a schedule yet. “It’s not easy to determine the schedule in advance, as I don’t know how quickly the cases will be reduced,” Lam told reporters at a daily briefing.

Associated Press researcher Chen Sim contributed to this story from Shanghai, China.

Source: Huffpost

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