Shanghai will ask all 26 million residents to take another round of Covid-19 tests, a city official said on Wednesday, adding that lockdown curbs would continue until the exercise is complete.
Some residents will be asked to take nucleic acid tests, while the rest will be asked to self-test using antigen tests, city officials told a news conference.
Residents scrambled to secure food on Wednesday, with supermarkets shut and deliveries restricted.
The government of the city, which is in the grips of its biggest-ever Covid-19 outbreak, said on Wednesday it would not consider lifting restrictions until the latest tests were completed and the results evaluated.
Wu Qianyu, an official with the city’s health commission, told a briefing on Wednesday that Shanghai was in a “race against time” against the outbreak.
With many compounds already locked down for more than two weeks, residents have grown frustrated with the restrictions, testing requirements and availability of food and other necessities.
Asked about growing public concern about the policy of separating children from parents if either had contracted Covid-19 but the others had not, one official said that while the treatment of minors must adhere to rules, authorities were also considering their needs.
The officials said some parents would be allowed to accompany their children if they met certain conditions, but would be asked to follow protective measures. They gave no further details.
Meanwhile, guardians of children with special needs who are infected with Covid can apply to escort them, a Shanghai city official said on Wednesday, pointing to a relaxation of a child-separation policy that has triggered widespread public anger.
The city has been separating Covid-positive children from their parents, citing epidemic prevention measures. China’s elimination strategy against Covid sees it test, trace and centrally quarantine all cases.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard