TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – New testing for COVID-19 over the next few days will identify neighborhoods that can safely begin reopening, Shanghai authorities said, as residents in Beijing watch as the capital city closes.
On Wednesday, China reported 14,222 new cases of coronavirus, the vast majority of people without symptoms.
The city’s health commission vice-chairman, Zhao Dandan, said Shanghai residents will begin another round of testing over the next few days, and areas that have achieved “zero community COVID” may experience limited freedom.
China’s COVID-free strategy is being tested by the country’s largest epidemic, which began in the central city of Wuhan in late December 2019. The phrase refers to the discovery of new infections only in people already under observation, such as those in a central quarantine facility or close contacts known to existing patients, and the virus is no longer circulating in the community.
The closing of Shanghai began a month ago, This negatively affects the population confined to their homes. While a lucky small part of the people They are allowed to leave their homes In the past week, the vast majority of people remained in detention.
Industrial goods have also been flowing Disabled by comment Arrive in Shanghai, home to the world’s busiest port, and other industrial cities including Changchun and Jilin in northeastern China.
Officials announced 48 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to at least 238 in the city.
Meanwhile, the capital, Beijing, is in the midst of mass testing millions of residents after a cluster of cases was discovered last week. The city recorded 34 new cases Wednesday, three of which were in people who did not show symptoms.
The past two days, nervous Beijing residents began to stock up Food and supplies, in the wake of Shanghai’s troubles as residents struggled to get a continuous and reliable supply of food during the lockdown.
Beijing city officials were quick to promise that they were ensuring that grocery stores would be well stocked. They said they had been keeping an eye on the Xinfadi wholesale market, where the city gets the vast majority of its supplies.
Demand soared, as city-dwellers shared online lists of what to stock. Farms on the outskirts of Beijing told the official Beijing Daily News that April and May are usually when demand is at its peak. Compared to the same period last year, the number of orders is up 20%, due to demand caused by the pandemic, according to a major farmer interviewed by the newspaper.
Another farm said it was more than that. “Starting yesterday, the number of orders we received has clearly increased, almost double the amount at this time last year,” Supply Chain Manager Zhang Xinming told the Beijing Daily News.
So far, officials have only closed down specific areas in Beijing where cases of the virus have been detected. On Wednesday, Tongzhou District suspended classes for all of its schools from kindergarten through high school.
“I think we’ll continue to see the use of these lockdowns across the country,” said Karen Gribban, a public health expert at the University of Hong Kong, given that China is currently still committed to a “zero COVID” approach. “If anything, the omicron variant has made the virus more difficult to control, and therefore stricter measures are needed if the goal is to continue to strive for local eradication of the virus.”
The ‘zero COVID’ strategy has worked well Against previous versions of the viruskeeping China mostly virus-free for two years as the epidemic spreads across the world. Questions are asked About its efficacy now, with vaccines protecting most people from serious diseases and the daunting challenge of trying to contain the most transmissible omicron variant.