HomeWorldShanghai fears new lockdown as millions test for Covid amid sweltering heat

Shanghai fears new lockdown as millions test for Covid amid sweltering heat

Shanghai authorities ordered most of the city’s 16 districts to undergo two rounds of testing from Tuesday to Thursday, after a case of the new subvariant BA.5.2.1 was detected in the community on July 8. .

The highly transmissible BA.5 variant is spreading rapidly around the world and is considered a major threat by authorities in China, the last major country to adhere to a strict zero-Covid strategy.

New Omicron sub-variants have been reported in several Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing, the northeastern port city of Dalian, and the central city of Xi’an, which was closed for seven days due to the outbreak.

The rising cases, and accompanying restrictions, come as a scorching heat wave sweeps the country. In Shanghai, authorities issued the highest-level red alert on Sunday as temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

The sweltering heat has made mass testing even more excruciating for residents, some of whom have to queue for hours, and for Covid workers, who are covered from head to toe in airtight personal protective equipment.

On Chinese social media, photos have gone viral of workers in hazmat suits lying on blocks of ice, while health experts have warned of heat stroke among Covid workers spending long hours outdoors in clothing. thick protector.

Shanghai saw a spike in infections earlier this month, due to an outbreak linked to a karaoke bar. In the last 10 days, it has reported more than 400 cases.

The growing outbreak has fueled fears that the mall could return to a massive lockdown, just weeks after its residents emerged from two months of grueling home confinement.

The city of 25 million ended its blockade throughout the city in early June, but has continued to impose harsh restrictions, including relentless tests Y quick locks in precincts where Covid cases were found.

As of Tuesday, 240 neighborhoods in Shanghai have been marked as medium or high risk areas and have been closed.

Shanghai residents line up for covid tests in a closed neighborhood on July 10.

Shanghai officials have repeatedly denied that a full lockdown of the city is imminent, but that has failed to convince residents, who pointed out that authorities had also made similar claims in March before the previous lockdown.

On Monday, two neighborhood committees in Shanghai said residents should “prepare food and medicine that can last 14 days at home, to be safe.”

Dozens of cities in China issue heat wave warnings as temperatures rise
The notices, after circulating widely online, caused panic among residents, many of whom are scarred by their prolonged isolation in April and May, leading to widespread food shortages and blocking access to health care.

In response to the uproar, a neighborhood committee worker told the state Health Times that the proposal was meant to prepare residents for the growing outbreak, since close contacts, as well as secondary contacts, of an infected case can also lead to the neighborhood locks

“Well, let’s spend our whole lives living in fear of food shortages and the shadow of hoarding daily necessities,” said a comment on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.

“It’s been more than three years, when will it end? How many three years do people have in their lives? Enough already!” another said.

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