‘Zero COVID’ in Shanghai, but confinement continues

“Zero Covid”: Shanghai indicated on Tuesday that it had beaten the coronavirus (excluding quarantine institutions), and an online ad was quickly ridiculed, because a large part of its 25 million residents are still confined.

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China is facing the worst outbreak of the epidemic since the beginning of the epidemic. It is also the last major global economy to remain isolated from the rest of the world with anti-Covid restrictions.

To counter this wave of the Omicron variant fatal to many unvaccinated elderly people, Shanghai, the city hardest hit by far, placed all residents under confinement in early April.

But difficulties in accessing fresh produce and non-Covid healthcare have sparked intense resentment, and in some cases even quarrels with authorities.

Zhao Dandan, deputy director of Municipal Health Services, announced on Tuesday that “all 16 districts in Shanghai have not reported any community COVID-19 infection.”

Apparently nearly 1,000 new cases detected in the past 24 hours were all detected in quarantine institutions and not in the general population.

On Sunday, the authorities announced a “step-by-step” reopening of businesses from this week, without specifying their size.

According to the city council, only 3.8 million residents still live in harsh conditions of confinement, such as being prohibited from leaving their apartment or apartment complex.

A number that raises the disbelief of many Internet users, convinced that many people are in fact still trapped.

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Are the authorities talking about Shanghai in a parallel world? Writes a user of the social network Weibo, consistent with the general tone of the comments.

However, restrictions have already been eased in some areas.

On Tuesday, Chinese media published video footage of a crowd of people queuing in front of a major railway station in Shanghai while trains from the city resume service.

Several airlines have resumed domestic flights from Shanghai this week, after being suspended during the outbreak.

However, residents can only leave the city with special permission and several Covid tests.

China is showing no willingness to ease its Covid control policy, despite the economic cost to businesses, tourism and car sales and the consequences for the unemployment rate.

The country has been living almost normally since 2020 thanks to its zero-Covid strategy, which in particular consists of extensive checks, quarantines imposed on infected people and confinement as soon as there are few cases.

Especially since the health authorities announced on Monday the discovery of the first case due to the Alexandria Library branch 2.1.12.1. Noted for being particularly contagious, it spread especially in the United States, and was discovered on a traveler from Kenya.

The capital, Beijing, tests a large portion of its 22 million residents daily, who still fear harsh “Shanghai-style” confinement.

The city reports only a few dozen new cases daily, but has already closed restaurants, bars, gyms, parks or even gyms and has imposed remote work.

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