Shanghai announced Thursday that it will confine an area of 2.7 million people on Saturday in order to screen all residents there, despite the Chinese city’s dismantling that began a few days ago.
The city last week lifted many restrictions on its 25 million residents, who have been confined since at least early April in order to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak – the most virulent since 2020.
But the disintegration is not comprehensive: hundreds of thousands of people remain confined to their apartment complexes due to the discovery of positive cases.
On the social network WeChat, local authorities announced that the Minhang district in southwest Shanghai will be closed on Saturday morning and its residents will have to take a PCR test.
They added, “The closure will be lifted after the samples are collected,” without specifying a specific date or time, or the measures that will be taken if positive cases are discovered.
Under the National Zero Covid Health Strategy, all those who test positive are in theory placed in quarantine.
Thus, Thursday’s announcement alarmed netizens about a possible public reconfiguration of the city.
“Will the (Minhang) neighborhood lockdown really be lifted after samples are collected?” Weibo social network user asks. “What will happen if there are positive results? Will containment continue? Another worries.
The city council on Thursday denied rumors that the rest of Shanghai would shut down again.
The confinement dealt a severe blow to the economy but the city came back to life for a few days. Subways and buses are back up and running again, while Shanghai enjoys the city’s restaurants, bars and parks.
However, some residents are still stuck in their homes, sometimes causing tension with the authorities.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Health reported nine new positive cases the previous day in Shanghai.
The Chinese capital, Beijing, is slowly getting closer to normalcy after closing restaurants, bars, gyms and parks last month to stem an epidemic – though, much less so than in Shanghai.
On Thursday, state media said the city’s main Chaoyang District had ordered clubs and bars to close after a few cases were discovered.
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