Fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 infections continue to burden officials and residents in multiple Chinese cities, including Shanghai, as they roll out mass testing or extend lockdowns.
China has reported an average of 390 daily infections in the seven days to Sunday, higher than about 340 seven days earlier, according to calculations based on official data as of Monday – a figure that is tiny compared with the resurgence in other parts of Asia.
But any flare-up unnerves local officials, with China adamant in implementing its ‘dynamic’ zero-Covid policy of eliminating outbreaks as soon as they emerge and punishing officials if they fail to do so.
Officials in the commercial hub Shanghai, which has yet to fully recover from the harsh two-month lockdown in spring and is still reporting daily sporadic cases, said on Monday they plan to conduct mass testing in many of its 16 districts and in some smaller areas where new infections have been reported recently, after similar testing last week.
Epidemic Risk At Community Level
“There is still an epidemic risk at the community level so far,” the city government said in a statement.
Shanghai reported more than a dozen new cases but none was found outside quarantined areas, local government data showed on Monday.
“I’m speechless,” said a Shanghai resident surnamed Wang, already subject to testing every weekend at her residential compound. “It sounds like a waste of resources that doesn’t address the real problem.”
The northern city of Tianjin, which launched multiple rounds of mass testing in recent months to curb earlier outbreaks, said on Monday it is again testing its more than 12 million residents, after two local infections were found.
In the central Chinese city of Zhumadian, lockdowns for more than a million people in two towns under its jurisdiction were extended for a few days until Tuesday.
Temporary lockdowns for over 3 million in four other towns were also extended to Monday.
Zhumadian continues to report dozens of cases daily despite curbs last week.
The capital Beijing, which reported zero local infections during July 11-17, closed up a residential compound on Monday as authorities proceeded to check on two suspected infections.
Authorities in the southern region of Guangxi said late on Sunday they removed two officials in the city of Beihai from their jobs for acting poorly in their Covid response.
The city of Beihai, with a population of 1.9 million and currently clocking over 500 infections, has launched multiple rounds of mass testing and locked down some areas.
As of Sunday, over 2,000 tourists were stuck in the city.
In the southern city of Guangzhou, Covid control staffers broke down the locks of apartment doors without residents’ consent, stirring an outcry on social media over the weekend.
Authorities in one district in Guangzhou on Monday apologised to residents.
The issue was among the top 10 list of topics trending on China’s Twitter-like social media Weibo.
“It’s too horrifying, too ridiculous,” wrote a Weibo user. “No humanity, no law.”
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard