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'Experts' Express Lockdown Concerns as Coronavirus Hits Shanghai

'Experts' Express Lockdown Concerns as Coronavirus Hits Shanghai

Chinese Communist Party authorities must ensure Shanghai residents are able to maintain their “livelihoods” in the coming days despite local health authorities’ orders to lock down residential complexes city-wide to test for the Chinese coronavirus, Shanghai-based infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong advised on Thursday according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). “The daily lives and businesses of Shanghai residents should not be neglected by authorities as they battle a surge in Omicron cases in [Shanghai],” Zhang Wenhong said in a statement posted to China’s Twitter-like microblog platform, Weibo, on March 24. “[T]he director of Huashan Hospital’s department of infectious diseases called for authorities to ensure residents’ livelihoods, keep medical channels open and protect private businesses as the city works to keep the outbreak under control,” the SCMP reported on Thursday after reviewing Zhang’s social media post. “In [the] future, maintaining a normal life should be stressed as much as the ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ policy,” Zhang wrote.

The Chinese Communist Party’s “zero-Covid” policy refers to its method of containing outbreaks of the Chinese coronavirus. Chinese state health officials have practiced the program over the past two years by ordering mass lockdowns of residential complexes at the center of suspected or confirmed Chinese coronavirus epidemics.

The scheme sees all affected residents forbidden from leaving their homes, often for weeks at a time, while they undergo mass testing for the Chinese coronavirus. Shanghai’s local Communist Party officials ordered a “zero-Covid” approach to the city’s latest outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus in recent days. Reuters reported on the city’s anti-epidemic protocol on March 24, writing: In a meeting on Wednesday [March 23], Shanghai’s Communist Party leaders emphasised the need to continue testing, implementing “closed loops” and cutting off transmission chains in order to bring new infections to zero as soon as possible.

The city also said more districts would be locked down for mass testing from Thursday [March 24] to Friday [March 25], including the major financial district of Lujiazui, with residents told not to leave home unless strictly necessary. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) distinguishes between “confirmed” (symptomatic) infections and “unconfirmed” (asymptomatic) infections of the Chinese coronavirus.

The NHC on March 23 said it documented four new “confirmed” infections of the Chinese coronavirus in Shanghai that were locally transmitted. Shanghai additionally recorded 979 asymptomatic infections of the same disease on March 23, according to the NHC. Shanghai’s latest Chinese coronavirus epidemic began sometime in early March, as the city announced on March 11 it would shutter its schools “for the foreseeable future” to contain a fresh outbreak of the disease.

The city was forced to close Shanghai Disneyland on March 21 after failing to curb its latest outbreak of the disease earlier in the month. Shanghai is the most densely populated city in China, which itself is the world’s most populous country.

The metropolis of Shanghai is home to more than 26 million people and serves as a global financial hub.

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