Shanghai’s lockdown deepens after a renewed spike in asymptomatic cases

China’s major financial center Shanghai expanded transport restrictions on Tuesday after new cases rose to more than 13,000 after a day of intense citywide testing, with no end in sight to the lockdown.

After originally taking a more piecemeal approach to minimizing economic disruption, Shanghai imposed a two-stage lockdown last week as authorities struggled to contain the city’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak.

The lockdown was originally due to end in western parts of the city on Tuesday, but has now been extended until further notice.

Shanghai reported a record 13,086 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on April 4, the city government said on its official WeChat channel on Tuesday, up from 8,581 the previous day, following a city-wide surveillance testing program that wiped more than 25 million people in 24 Hours.

Symptomatic cases fell to 268 on Monday, from 425 the day before. The proportion of official symptomatic infections remains far lower than in the rest of the world, which experts have attributed to the city’s proactive screening process.

At least 38,000 workers have been deployed to Shanghai from other regions in what state media has described as the largest nationwide medical operation since Wuhan was shut down in early 2020.

Authorities announced late Monday that further restrictions will apply to the city’s transport networks from Tuesday, with more subway lines suspended.

Sun Chunlan, China’s vice premier in charge of COVID-19 response, said Monday during an inspection of testing sites in Shanghai that prevention and control work is now at a “critical juncture” and it is vital that every resident is tested become.

As members of the public continued to express concerns about Shanghai’s draconian measures and circulated videos on social media, Sun urged the party’s grassroots organizations to “do everything possible” to help residents solve their problems.

Analysts outside of China have warned of the economic cost of the country’s relentless campaign to contain infections.

“What is most striking in Shanghai is the authorities’ difficulties in managing logistics, particularly conditions at centralized quarantine facilities,” said Michael Hirson, China analyst at consultancy Eurasia Group.

“Given that Shanghai has an extremely capable government, the current troubles serve as a warning to local governments across China, where capacity is not as high and major outbreaks could push resources further to the limit,” he added added.

Nationwide, China reported 1,235 confirmed coronavirus cases as of April 4, up from 1,405 the day before, including 1,173 local transmissions. The number of new asymptomatic cases was 15,355, compared to 11,862 the day before. Shanghai’s lockdown deepens after a renewed spike in asymptomatic cases

Russell Falcon

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