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Shanghai Orders New Tests, Says Curbs to be Lifted in Batches

In a question and answer posted on its official WeChat account, the Shanghai government said the city’s epidemic was showing a “positive trend”

Shanghai residents line up for nucleic acid tests
China has put Shanghai under a tight lockdown since late March and neighbouring Kunshan has also tightened curbs to control the country's biggest Covid-19 outbreak since the coronavirus was discovered in late 2019 in the city of Wuhan. Photo: Reuters


Shanghai officials said on Friday they would order a new round of city-wide testing and warning residents their three-week lockdown would only be lifted in batches once transmission is stamped out.

In a question and answer posted on its official WeChat account, the Shanghai government said the city’s epidemic was showing a “positive trend” and that life in the city could return to normal soon as long as people adhered to the policy.

In a separate statement issued late on Thursday, it announced a new round of “nine major” actions, that would include more Covid-19 testing for all its residents from Friday.

Eleven people infected with Covid-19 died in Shanghai on April 21, the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission said on Friday.

That was up from eight deaths a day earlier.

The Chinese financial hub reported 15,698 new local asymptomatic coronavirus cases, down from 15,861 a day earlier. New symptomatic cases stood at 1,931, down from 2,634 a day earlier.


Lockdown Extension Causing Havoc

On March 27, Chinese authorities ordered a citywide lockdown in Shanghai originally intended to take place in two phases, lasting eight days.

However, things did not pan out as intended and the extended lockdown has hit supply chains, caused shortages of food and impacted livelihoods of millions of people.

Industrial output in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, dropped by 7.5% year-on-year after stringent lockdown measures halted production in some factories, the city’s official said on Friday.

“The latest virus outbreak has greatly impacted the city’s industrial activities, leading to March’s output being down 7.5% year-on-year,” Wu Jincheng, chairman of Shanghai’s economic planner, said at a press conference on Friday.

The city’s industrial output growth in the first quarter slowed to 4.8%, Wu said. There were no comparative data on fourth quarter of 2021 or year-on-year figures.

The lockdowns have impacted national economic performance, analysts note.

“Although first-quarter gross domestic product figures were stronger than expected at 4.8% year on year, we expect that lockdown measures will drag significantly on second-quarter growth,” Carlos Casanova, senior Asia economist at Union Bancaire Privée, said.

“Domestic consumption will lead to declines, after contracting by 3.5% year on year in March,” he added.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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