Millions tested in Shanghai as China battles COVID resurgence

  • Third day of mass testing in many districts of Shanghai
  • In a first, Beijing requires proof of vaccination for crowded places
  • China battles COVID outbreaks in multiple provinces
  • The economy is recovering, but the foundations are not solid, says the Prime Minister

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, July 7 (Reuters) – Millions of people in Shanghai lined up for a third day of mass COVID-19 testing on Thursday as authorities in several Chinese cities raced to stamp out new outbreaks that reignited concerns about growth in the second world. -the greatest economy.

Unless local officials succeed in preventing the spread of the virus, they may be forced to invoke prolonged and major restrictions on residents’ movement, as part of China’s “dynamic zero COVID” strategy.

The country’s most populous city, Shanghai, has just emerged from a painful two-month lockdown and is on high alert again – rushing to isolate infections linked to karaoke services that were operating illegally.

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Shanghai reported 54 new locally transmitted COVID cases on Wednesday, up from 24 the day before. More than 70 confirmed cases in recent days are linked to karaoke bars, authorities said.

Overall, mainland China reported 338 new local COVID cases on Wednesday, down from 353, with no new deaths, numbers most countries would now consider insignificant.

But China’s approach of rigorously stamping out outbreaks as they occur is making residents more wary of the kind of restrictions that have caused mental stress and financial hardship for many, disrupting chains global supply and foreign trade and shook financial markets. Read more

“A resurgence of Omicron is not a problem in most other countries, but it remains a predominant problem for the Chinese economy,” Nomura analysts wrote in a note, referring to the highly transmissible COVID variant. .

With China being “by far the largest manufacturing hub in the world, any new wave of Omicron is likely to have a significant impact,” they added.

Shanghai, China’s commercial hub, ordered most of its 25 million residents to take two mandatory COVID tests between Tuesday and Thursday.

City residents frequently take self-administered tests to enter shopping malls or travel on public transportation, and they must also take part in citywide tests every weekend until the end July.

Another 50 residential compounds and venues were closed in Shanghai on Thursday, bringing the total to 81.

PLAY WHACK-A-MOLE WITH OUTBREAKS

About half of China’s 338 new cases were in the eastern province of Anhui, where more than a million people in smaller towns are locked down.

In Beijing, four new infections were reported, up from six the previous day.

The capital has demanded that from July 11, most people entering crowded places, such as libraries, cinemas and gymnasiums, must have been vaccinated. Read more

After finding a case of COVID involving a person who arrived from Shanghai, the city of Xinjiang in northern Shanxi province tested nearly all of its 280,000 residents, suspended taxis, public transport and services. buses, and closed various entertainment venues.

In another province, Shaanxi, which reported four new cases, the cultural and tourism authority asked travel agencies to cancel group tours to its capital Xian, famous for its Terracotta Army.

China has justified its no-compromise coronavirus strategy by saying it saves lives and is worth the “temporary” economic costs. Officials compared the millions of COVID-related deaths worldwide with China’s reported death toll of 5,226 since the pandemic began 2½ years ago.

Analysts, however, warn that some costs could become permanent if China’s debt burden increases and restrictions lead foreign investors and talent to reconsider their presence in the country.

Premier Li Keqiang, quoted by state media on Thursday, said the Chinese economy is recovering, but the foundations for this recovery are not solid and hard work is still needed.

China plans to set up a 500 billion yuan ($75 billion) public infrastructure fund to revive the economy, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Read more

($1 = 6.7000 Chinese yuan)

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Additional reporting by Wang Jing in Shanghai and Ryan Woo in Beijing Writing by Marius Zaharia and John Geddie Editing by Himani Sarkar, Simon Cameron-Moore and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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