Shanghai tightens Covid lockdown on second day of curbs, preventing residents from leaving their doorsteps

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Shanghai, China’s most populous city, tightened the first phase of a two-stage COVID-19 lockdown again on Tuesday, asking some residents to stay indoors unless tested as the number of daily cases exceeded 4,400.

China’s financial hub, home to 26 million people, is in its second day of lockdown as local authorities lead by dividing the city roughly along the Huangpu River, dividing the historic center from the business district and East Pudong Industrial Estate to allow staggered trial.

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 government’s “zero-COVID” strategy. country as it attempts to bring the highly infectious Omicron variant under control.

Residents east of Huangpu were first locked in housing compounds on Monday, but mostly allowed to move indoors. On Tuesday, however, two residents told Reuters they had been told by their neighborhood committees that they were no longer allowed through their door.

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

Wu Qianyu, an official with the municipal health commission, said at a press briefing on Tuesday that locked-down residents should not leave their homes, even to walk their pets or dispose of trash.

“This is actually a key step in nucleic acid testing and we have clearly asked people in closed areas to stay at home,” she said.

She said 17,000 testing staff from Shanghai and surrounding areas had set up 6,300 stations and carried out a total of 8.26 million tests in the city’s closed neighborhoods as of Monday.

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

‘PAUSE BUTTON’

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

The Shanghai Stock Exchange in the western part of the city said it had kept a small staff in place at the exchange for key positions such as trading and technical operations of the system, while others worked home.

Residents in the city’s west continued to rush to grocery stores and vegetable markets for supplies ahead of the start date of their lockdown on April 1, with long queues and crowds .

But US hypermarket chain Costco Wholesale Corp, whose Shanghai store has attracted long lines of shoppers in recent days, said it was closing from Tuesday, ahead of the region’s planned lockdown, along with some gymnasiums and shopping malls which are also found in the western districts of Shanghai.

The Shanghai government on Tuesday rolled out new measures in an attempt to support COVID-hit businesses, including rent waivers and billions of yuan in tax refunds.

The Communist Party tabloid, the Global Times, said late Monday that Shanghai had pressed the “pause” button in what it called a “sudden shift” but the economic damage was likely to be minimal.

He quotes Cao Heping, an economist from Peking University, who said the city’s gross domestic product growth would likely be reduced by 0.5% in the first and second quarters from a year ago, but that the national economy would not suffer much.

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