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