With no sign of backing away from its hardline “zero-COVID” policy, China’s Shanghai ordered mass testing on Friday of all 1.3 million residents of the downtown Yangpu district, as per a report by the Associated Press. The people have been confined to their homes till the time the results are known. Under its policy, the citizens are not allowed to venture outside their residences and food is distributed to them by the authorities. Moreover, mass testing and travel bans are also a part of the policy.
The order of mass testing and lockdown is in line with the measures ordered over the summer that led to a two-month lockdown of the entire city of 25 million, further adversely hitting the local economy. When the lockdown began, authorities said that it would last just days but then kept extending the deadline, the AP report said.
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Anti-lockdown protests and the aftermath
Amid the strict measures that have been imposed across the country, reports of anti-lockdown protests have also come to the fore. After the anti-government protests broke out in the city in 2008, Lhasa has been under tight surveillance. As a result of these restrictions, China’s economy has suffered heavily. A report by BBC stated that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 2.6% in three months. According to a survey by Japanese bank Nomura, the number of cities under lockdown accounts for 24.5% of the country’s GDP, up from 22.9% last week.
According to AP, China on Friday reported 1,337 new cases, most of them asymptomatic, and zero COVID-19-related deaths. Shanghai logged in 11 asymptomatic cases and Tibet confirmed five asymptomatic cases. The report further said that a total of 2,58,660 cases and 5,226 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019.
Permanent quarantine centre?
Shanghai plans to build a permanent quarantine centre on an island in the Huangpu River, AP report stated citing business magazine Caixin. The project is said to cost 1.6-billion-yuan ($221 million) and will expand existing facilities to create 3,009 isolation rooms and 3,250 beds, the report added. The construction will likely be finished in six months. While China’s domestically developed vaccines are considered relatively ineffective, it has refused to approve foreign brands.