Security guards in protective gear load goods near residential buildings lockdown for COVID-19. AP
After originally taking a more piecemeal approach aimed at minimising economic disruptions, Shanghai imposed broader restrictions last week as authorities struggled to contain what has become the city's biggest COVID-19 outbreak.
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The lockdown now covers more than 25 million people after restrictions in the city's western districts were extended until further notice in what has become a testing ground for the government's zero-tolerance "dynamic clearance" approach and its ability to contain the highly infectious Omicron variant.
"Currently, Shanghai's epidemic prevention and control is at the most difficult and most critical stage," said Wu Qianyu, an official with the municipal health commission, at a Tuesday briefing. "We must adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearance without hesitation, without wavering."
Workers are seen wearing protective clothes next to some lockdown areas in Shanghai. AFP
Shanghai reported a record 13,086 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on April 4, the city government said on its official WeChat channel, up from 8,581 the previous day, after a city-wide surveillance testing programme that saw more than 25 million people swabbed in 24 hours.
The local government said it had collected 25.67 million samples in 2.4 million test tubes on Monday, and almost 80% of the total had been tested by 8:00 on Tuesday morning. Any positive results are followed up at the individual level.
Symptomatic cases fell on Monday to 268, from 425 a day earlier. The proportion of official symptomatic infections remains far lower than the rest of the world, which experts have attributed to the city's proactive screening process.
Police officers in protective suits keep watch at an entrance to a tunnel in Shanghai, China. Reuters
At least 38,000 personnel have been deployed to Shanghai from other regions in what state media has described as the biggest nationwide medical operation since the shutdown of Wuhan in early 2020 after the first known coronavirus outbreak.
Authorities said late on Monday that further restrictions would be placed on the city transportation networks from Tuesday, with more subway lines suspended.
China's financial hub of Shanghai continued to report a spike in cases, with companies in the country struggling to maintain output amid stringent curbs.
The snap lockdown, announced by Shanghai's city government on Sunday, will split the city in two roughly along the Huangpu River for nine days to allow for "staggered" testing. It is the biggest COVID-related disruption to hit the city.
That compared with 5,656 new asymptomatic cases and 326 new cases with symptoms reported a day earlier. Shanghai on Sunday announced a two-stage lockdown of the city of 26 million people to carry out COVID-19 testing.
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