China’s largest city, Shanghai, will soon begin lifting lockdowns in communities that report no positive cases within 14 days after another round of COVID-19 testing, authorities said on Saturday.
The new round of testing comes as the city reported about 23,000 cases on Saturday, most of them asymptomatic. Large swathes of Shanghai, with a population of 26 million, have been in lockdown since March 28, leading to complaints from residents about shortages of food and basic necessities.
Separately, authorities in Guangzhou announced that the city northwest of Hong Kong would also begin mass testing of its 18 million residents, according to central broadcaster CCTV. The city reported only two confirmed infections on Friday.
Under the new measures, areas in Shanghai will be classified as “precautionary”, “controlled” or “closed”, depending on the results of the latest round of tests, Shanghai Vice Mayor Zong Ming said during a briefing. a press conference.
Residents of areas deemed “precautionary”, free of infection in the past two weeks, will be able to move around their neighborhoods, although gatherings are still limited.
Meanwhile, in “controlled” areas, residents can move around their neighborhoods, which are smaller than districts, while “closed” areas will force everyone to stay at home.
Over 100 makeshift hospitals built
During the press conference, Zong choked up with emotion, saying she was moved by the efforts of residents and frontline workers. “There is still a big gap from everyone’s expectations. We will do our best to improve it,” she said.
The city has built more than 100 makeshift hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients, with more than 160,000 beds.
But the severe restrictions on movement have also tested the patience of residents. Some received government food parcels containing meat and vegetables. Many, however, are struggling to get rice and other staples, with online vendors sold out and delivery services unable to keep up with demand.
China is facing one of its worst local outbreaks since the pandemic began.
It is one of the only countries to stick to a “zero COVID” policy, taking drastic measures such as lockdowns and mass testing to identify and isolate every case. China is still closed to international travel, even though most of the world has sought ways to live with the virus.