Shanghai : Amid the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases, the Chinese authorities have imposed the strictest lockdown measures in the city of 26 million since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, a media report said.
The city which is one of the important financial hubs of the country has been placed under lockdown as a result of China's 'zero-covid' strategy, Vision Times said. Previously, Shanghai had managed its smaller previous outbreaks with limited lockdowns of housing compounds and workplaces where the virus was reported to be spreading.
The lockdown is being conducted in two phases, with the ongoing phase 1 since March 28 locking down the Pudong financial district and nearby areas till April 1 in order to allow health workers to conduct two rounds of mass testing, the report said.
In the second phase of the lockdown, the vast downtown area west of the Huangpu River that divides the city will start its own five-day lockdown lasting from April 1 to the 5th.
The resurgence of COVID-19 has created a dilemma for Chinese policymakers as local officials are being told to maintain zero-covid and simultaneously limit economic disruption, analysts at the research firm Trivium China said.
Under the lockdown, residents have not been allowed to leave their residential compounds and have been told that food and essentials will be delivered to their homes. Businesses and firms that are not considered essential have been ordered to close until further notice and all public transportation has been suspended.
Local authorities have stringently upheld orders which have included disinfection theatrics, lockdowns, mass testing, and travel restrictions, the report said.
Panic-buying was also reported over the weekend as terrified residents cleared supermarket shelves of food, beverages and household items. Additional barriers were being erected in neighbourhoods yesterday (March 28), with workers in hazmat suits checking residents at security checkpoints.
This month, China has faced its worst outbreak since the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan. From March 1 to 24, the country had reported 56,000 infections -- more than the total cases in Wuhan two years ago. On Sunday, 6,215 positive tests were recorded, with 3,500 of those in Shanghai, the Washington Post reported.
The number of coronavirus cases and deaths reported by the Chinese authorities since the beginning of the pandemic in late 2019 is considered a tiny fraction of the real figures, with Beijing admitting to just over 1,00,000 total cases prior to the current surge.