Shanghai Extends Lockdown After Covid-19 Virus Outbreak ‘Extremely Grim’

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According to a city official, the situation in China’s largest metropolis of Shanghai remains “extremely grim” amid an ongoing lockdown that has forced around 26 million people to remain at home.

Chinese state media quoted Gu Honghui, the director of Shanghai’s epidemic control working group, as saying that the outbreak was “still at a high level.”

A total of more than 10,000 health workers from across the country have been sent to help the city, including 2,000 military members, and are undergoing mass tests on residents who have been locked down for weeks.

Both eastern and western Shanghai remained locked down despite the fact that most of the city was supposed to open last Friday.

After testing all city residents, officials will reevaluate preventative measures, Gu said. In the meantime, citizens are asked to continue following the current lockdown measures and remain indoors unless they require medical attention or other emergency situations, Gu said.

Since the reemergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant in March, Shanghai reported more than 73,000 Covid-19 infections.

More than 73,000 cases have been documented in Shanghai since the latest wave of infections began last month – the vast majority of them asymptomatic. The outbreak has not been attributed to any deaths due to the emergence of the omicron BA.2 variant, which is more infectious than the delta variant but less lethal.

The northeastern province of Jilin continues to experience an outbreak and the capital Beijing also saw nine new cases, only one of which was symptomatic. A shopping center where a case was detected was closed down.

Hundreds of complaints have been made about the difficulty of getting food and daily necessities in Shanghai, and about the shortage of volunteers, medical staff and beds in the isolation wards where tens of thousands of patients are being monitored.

Exhibit halls and other facilities have been converted into massive isolation centres in Shanghai, where people with mild or no symptoms are crammed into a sea of beds separated by temporary partitions. In addition, Gu said another 30,000 beds would be ready soon for Covid-19 patients. It was unclear, however, how many beds would be available for patients being observed – estimated at 100,000 patients, according to city authorities.

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