Amid signs of tighter pandemic restrictions, Shanghai Covid cases are declining

Amid signs of tighter pandemic restrictions, Shanghai Covid cases are declining

Shanghai reported a further decline in Covid-19 cases although an apparent tightening of curbs indicates the lockdown that confined millions of residents to their homes for more than a month that won’t be eased soon.

However, there are signs that despite the downward trend in cases, Shanghai is tightening pandemic curbs. Some neighborhoods have announced “quiet periods” lasting for a number of days, where non-essential, and in some cases all, deliveries have been halted and residents told not to go outside. This comes after the lockdown was eased in some parts of the city, and after backlash at the start of the restrictions when delivery snarls spurred food and medicine shortages.

The city reported 3,014 cases for Monday, (May 9) down from 3,947 on Sunday, CCTV reported. That’s the lowest daily tally since March 26, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Authorities also appear to have expanded the criteria for close contacts, with people living in the same building as a positive Covid case at risk of being removed to government-run isolation facilities, according to local residents and widely circulated social media posts.

Meanwhile, China’s capital has so far avoided a city-wide lockdown, but continues to tighten restrictions to keep a lid on new cases, which rose to 74 on Monday from 49 on Sunday, according to CCTV.

Previously, only people living in the same apartment or the same floor as positive cases would likely be considered close contacts and put in official quarantine.

Uncertainties persist around Beijing’s virus situation, local health official Pang Xinghuo said at a Monday briefing. All regions in Chaoyang, Shunyi, Fangshan and other neighbourhoods that found cases in the past seven days will conduct three rounds of mass Covid tests starting Tuesday, according to information shared at the press conference.

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Monday reiterated the country’s adherence to Covid Zero, saying outbreaks should be stamped out as soon as they are detected, Xinhua reported. She urged the importance of early warning, and stressed the availability of PCR tests within 15 minutes’ walk in big cities.

China’s Covid Zero policy requires all cases and their close contacts to be isolated in government facilities as a way of snuffing out transmission. The strategy was effective at quashing Covid early on in the pandemic, but is being challenged by more transmissible variants like Omicron. The country’s ongoing pursuit of the strategy is leaving it increasingly isolated, with other parts of the world dismantling pandemic curbs and living alongside the virus, making the scenes in China all the more stark.

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