Shanghai on Sunday reported more than 26,000 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases recorded in the previous 24 hours as anxiety spread in other Chinese cities including Beijing about similar lockdowns being implemented to contain outbreaks driven by Omicron and its sub-variants
Shanghai has been reporting a record number of cases every day for the past two weeks. State media reported the city now has over 200,000 positive cases since 1st March, a vast majority of them mild in nature, overwhelming both the health and civic infrastructure of China’s financial hub with the city’s 25 million residents angered over the endless cycle of tests and quarantine.
China is facing the toughest test of its “Zero-COVID” policy in the last two years as almost the entire country is in the grip of the current outbreak. According to state media reports, South China’s Guangzhou city has suspended offline classes at local primary and middle school classes, except for Year 12 students with dorms who will be put under lockdown in their schools. The city reported 23 infections since Friday as the authorities are gearing up for another outbreak. Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, home to more than 18 million people, said it would begin testing across its 11 districts. All residents in Renqiu, Cangzhou, N.China’s Hebei Province, and people from other places will go to designated places to take nucleic acid tests from Monday.
The city of Nanjing, the capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, will build four makeshift hospitals to receive and treat COVID-19 patients. Ningbo, a key port city near Shanghai, said on Sunday it was closing all indoor dining at restaurants and hotels, and that people who had been in confined spaces would undergo testing daily for three days, without elaborating. Citizens in several cities expressed anxiety in social media groups that their cities might also go into lockdown.
Anxiety about a full-city lockdown in Beijing spread on social media after the municipal government placed a high-risk city area under lockdown on Saturday following eight confirmed Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks. An old list of essentials prepared and circulated by the Beijing government earlier in case of an emergency was widely shared on social media networks over the weekend. Millions of students in Beijing have been asked to get tested for Covid-19 before rejoining school after a week-long holiday on Monday.
Residents in the worst-hit Shanghai are facing serious issues in procuring daily provisions as the online delivery system is overstretched as complaints of delivery bottlenecks continue to come out on social media. Residents are risking punishment for breaching lockdown and sneaking out at night to barter for food in the city. Shanghai police have to deploy helicopters and drones to warn off angry residents from coming out of their homes and gathering on the streets or even within their compounds as frustration has prevailed all around.
The streets remained empty over the weekend as authorities carried out fresh rounds of nucleic acid testings with only medics, police, volunteers, and delivery personnel with special permission being allowed to step out. State media reported the recent wave of Omicron outbreaks across China is sending shockwaves through vehicle industry chains, with auto parts manufacturers being forced to suspend some or all of their production lines to coordinate with the country’s painstaking combat against the virus. Their situation is leading car factories owned by both Chinese and overseas car brands like Nio and Tesla to halt production. Locked down Shanghai is home to a number of automobile plants, including Tesla, SAIC Volkswagen, and Shanghai General Motors. Overall, the mainland reported 1,318 new confirmed coronavirus cases on April 9, the national health commission (NHC) said Sunday, with over 26000 asymptomatic cases. Nearly 200000 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation