SHANGHAI: Shanghai on Sunday ordered its 26 million residents to undergo two more rounds of tests for COVID-19 as public anger grows over how authorities in China’s most populous city are tackling a record coronavirus surge.
Residents should self-test on Sunday using antigen kits and report any positive results, Shanghai government officials told a news conference, while a nucleic acid test would be conducted citywide on Monday.
“The main task is to completely eliminate risk points and to cut off the chain of transmission so that we can curb the spread of the epidemic as soon as possible,” said Wu Qianyu, an inspector from Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
Essentially all of China’s financial capital is locked down after the city began curbing movement in its eastern districts last Monday, extending the restrictions to the entire city days later
Shanghai’s lockdown has massively disrupted daily life and businesses, even as healthcare workers and volunteers work round the clock trying to test the entire population and supply residents with groceries.
China’s COVID caseload remains low by international standards, but spikes in places like Shanghai are testing its previously successful approach of stamping out the virus through strict curbs and aggressive testing and tracing.
Most of Shanghai’s infections have been asymptomatic, according to official data, but China’s “dynamic clearance” approach requires authorities to test, trace and centrally quarantine all positive cases.
Shanghai on Sunday reported 7,788 daily locally transmitted asymptomatic cases, up from 6,501 the day before, while symptomatic cases rose to 438 from 260.
The city accounted for the bulk of mainland China’s 11,781 daily locally transmitted asymptomatic cases and nearly one-third of its 1,506 symptomatic cases. This was the highest national case count since the early days of the pandemic in February 2020.
China is also battling a large outbreak in the northeastern province of Jilin.
Sent to Shanghai by the central government, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan urged the city on Saturday to “make resolute and swift moves” to curb the pandemic. —Agencies