SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s financial hub of Shanghai reported a record daily rise in local COVID-19 infections on Monday as authorities raced to test residents and bring the Omicron variant under control, while closing its Disney resort until new order.
Until recent weeks, relatively unaffected by the coronavirus, Shanghai reported 24 new locally transmitted COVID cases with confirmed symptoms for Sunday and 734 asymptomatic local infections, official data showed Monday.
It is the fourth consecutive day that asymptomatic local infections in Shanghai have increased.
Although the number of infections is tiny by global standards, Shanghai has been quick to follow China’s “dynamic depollution” policies, closing schools and testing residential compounds in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.
“As for the whole epidemic prevention and control situation we are facing, it is very complex and serious, and it is also a very big test for us,” the official said. city health, Wu Jinglei, at a press briefing.
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Shanghai will stick to “dynamic authorization”, Wu added, saying he hoped for continued public support for the policy.
The city also closed the Shanghai Disney Resort from Monday until further notice.
But there were signs of frustration with the city’s ad hoc, district-by-district approach.
“Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen had three different models of epidemic response,” said a user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo network.
“Hong Kong is the worst but will be the first to open up,” the writer, as zangyn, said in a widely shared post. “Shenzhen is the most efficient, and Shanghai is perhaps the most tiring, even the most miserable.”
The severity of outbreak responses by Shanghai’s residential complexes and neighborhoods has varied, with some opting for closures lasting up to two weeks. Some people in other cordoned off neighborhoods said they were not told how long they should stay at home.
Residents’ committees helping to organize screening programs have also encountered difficulties. A complex distributed tokens to thwart attempts by foreigners to take free tests.
Including infections in Shanghai, mainland China on Sunday reported a total of 1,947 new locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms, according to data from the National Health Commission (NHC), up from 1,656 the day before.
Tangshan’s top steel city, with only 12 local infections since March. 19, only allows essential vehicles on roads smaller than highways, while people with special needs who need to use vehicles must seek approval.
Shenzhen’s southern manufacturing hub has allowed work and production activities, as well as bus and subway services in most areas, to resume after local case numbers fell daily after three rounds of testing city-wide.
However, narrow borders remain in some places.
Shenzhen residents must still present negative tests to use public transport from Monday to March 27, a period during which non-essential domestic services will remain closed, the city government said.
Candidate vaccines targeting Omicron specifically, or among variants of concern, are being studied ahead of clinical trials, a national health official said Saturday, without identifying the companies involved.
New local asymptomatic cases in China, which it does not classify as confirmed cases, were 2,384, down from 2,177 a day earlier. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,638, with no new fatalities.
As of Sunday, mainland China had reported 132,226 cases with confirmed symptoms, both among locals and arrivals from outside.
(Reporting by David Stanway, Roxanne Liu, Stella Qiu, Yifan Wang, Brenda Goh, Engen Tham and the Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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