Shanghai tightens COVID lockdown on second day of curbs

COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai
A police officer in a hazmat suit stands guard next to a bridge leading to the Pudong area over the Huangpu River following traffic restrictions amid the lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Shanghai, China, March 28, 2022 curb REUTERS/Aly Song

March 29, 2022

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shanghai, China’s most populous city, on Tuesday tightened the first phase of a two-tier COVID-19 lockdown again, asking some residents to stay indoors unless tested amid the number of daily cases has risen to over 4,400.

China’s financial hub of 26 million people is on the second day of a lockdown that local authorities are conducting, roughly dividing the city along the Huangpu River and separating the historic center from eastern Pudong business and industrial district to allow for a staggered test.

While the number of cases in Shanghai remains modest by global standards — a record 4,381 asymptomatic cases and 96 symptomatic cases for March 28 — the city has become a testing ground for the country’s “zero-COVID” strategy as it attempts to accommodate the highly infectious Omicron variant control.

The residents east of the Huangpu were initially locked up in residential complexes on Monday, but were mostly allowed to move around in them. However, on Tuesday, two residents told Reuters they were informed by their neighborhood committees that they would no longer be allowed to cross their front door.

“Kids were still having picnics and having fun yesterday,” said one of them, who declined to be named for privacy reasons.

Wu Qianyu, an official with the city health commission, said at a news conference Tuesday that the detained residents should not leave their homes, even to walk pets or dispose of garbage.

“This is indeed a key phase in nucleic acid testing and we have made a clear call to people in lockdown areas to stay home,” she said.

She said 17,000 testing personnel from Shanghai and surrounding regions set up 6,300 stations on Monday and conducted a total of 8.26 million tests in the city’s lockdown areas.

“The large number of medical personnel, grass-roots cadres, community workers and volunteers have shared the very hard work on the front lines of epidemic prevention and control, and they should be thanked,” she said.


Drone footage released by Chinese state media showed deserted streets surrounding the skyscrapers of Pudong’s Lujiazui financial district. Public transport in the East has been closed and all unauthorized vehicles have been banned from the roads.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange in the western part of the city said it has retained a skeleton staff within the exchange for key positions such as trading and technical system operations, while others are working from home.

Residents in the west of the city continued to rush to grocery stores and vegetable markets to stock up in anticipation of the April 1 start date of their lockdown, with long lines and crowds.

But US hypermarket chain Costco Wholesale Corp, whose Shanghai store has drawn long lines of shoppers in recent days, said it would close from Tuesday ahead of the area’s planned lockdown, along with some gyms and malls also located in Shanghai’s western districts are located.

The Shanghai government on Tuesday rolled out new measures to try to support COVID-hit businesses, including billions of dollars in rent exemptions and tax rebates.

The Communist Party tabloid, the Global Times, said late Monday that Shanghai had hit the “pause” button in what it called a “sudden change of course,” but the economic damage was likely minimal.

She quoted Cao Heping, an economist with Beijing University, as saying that the city’s gross domestic product growth in the first and second quarters year-on-year is likely to fall by 0.5%, but the national economy would not suffer much.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Samuel Shen, Winni Zhou, David Stanway and the Shanghai and Beijing newsrooms; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell) Shanghai tightens COVID lockdown on second day of curbs

Bobby Allyn

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