Corona outbreak in Shanghai: lockdown now indefinitely

Status: 04/05/2022 09:06

China continues to rely on a zero-Covid strategy, but is unable to keep the corona outbreak in Shanghai under control. The lockdown for one of the largest cities in the world has been extended again, indefinitely.

Chinese authorities have indefinitely extended the crown blockade for Shanghai. Referring to a large number of infections, the city government announced that the results of Monday’s mass test, examination and transport of the infected to quarantine had to be completed before deciding on the further direction of control measures. Party deputy leader Gu Honghui spoke to the press about a “race against time”.

The blockade affects over 25 million residents in one of the largest cities in the world. In fact, the curfew in western Shanghai is only expected to last from Friday to Tuesday. But as before in the east and south, where the lockdown was supposed to be from Monday to Friday, an extension was ordered.

The lockdown in Shanghai leads to bizarre scenes, for example when you can no longer avoid walking the dog outside the door.

Image: REUTERS

“Distributed quickly and covertly”

“The virus spread quickly and covertly,” Gu said. “It is a great challenge to test capacity.” The authorities were working hard to analyze the situation and make decisions on how to proceed.

People have to stay in their homes. To provide for them, the authorities are distributing food packages. In recent days, however, bottlenecks have occurred in some areas of the city. Chinese state media also reported “difficulties”. In a rare step in the People’s Republic, the Shanghai city government apologized on Thursday. The government underestimated the spread of the omicron variant and did not prepare sufficiently for the rise of new infections.

Chinese metropolis Shanghai extends the crown blockade indefinitely

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It is becoming tight in the isolation structures

In Shanghai, those who test positive are taken to a hospital or a designated isolation facility, even if they have no symptoms. The corresponding facilities are now reaching their capacity limits.

Children and babies are separated from their parents if both parents are positive. Children are placed in a separate facility if no one in the family can take care of them.

More cases than in two years

The number of new infections in China is currently higher than in the past two years. The Beijing Health Commission reported a record number of over 16,000 new infections. With more than 15,000, most cases are asymptomatic. In Shanghai alone, 268 diseases and over 13,000 infections without symptoms have been reported after tests in recent days: for the first time, more than 10,000 in one day. Jilin province in northeastern China has also been severely affected, where there is also a curfew and millions of people are being tested.

Compared to other countries, the number of infections in China, with its 1.4 billion inhabitants, is rather low. In Germany, which has only 83 million inhabitants, there are currently around 180,000 new infections within 24 hours. Unlike most other countries in the world, however, China continues to pursue a strict zero-Covid strategy.

Successful strategy for a long time

This means that strict measures are imposed such as curfews, mass tests or city blocks even if only isolated cases occur. In the case of Shanghai, according to state media, Chinese experts speculate that strict measures will reduce the number of new infections to zero within two weeks.

With this strategy, the authorities of the Communist country have been successful for a long time. Life has been largely normal for the past couple of years. With the speed at which the omicron variant is spreading, however, stringent measures are working less and less.

With information from Eva Lamby-Schmitt, ARD Studio Shanghai

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