SHANGHAI (AFP) – Shanghai will lock down a district of 2.7 million people tomorrow to conduct mass coronavirus testing, city authorities said, as the Chinese metropolis struggles to fully emerge from punishing curbs.
The city eased many restrictions last week, after confining most of its 25 million residents to their homes since March as China battled its worst Covid outbreak in two years. But the lockdown was never fully lifted, with hundreds of thousands in China’s biggest city still restricted to their homes and multiple residential compounds put under fresh stay-home orders.
The southwestern district of Minhang, home to 2.7 million people, will be placed under “closed management” tomorrow morning and all residents will be tested, district authorities said in a social media post yesterday.
“The closure will be lifted after samples have been collected,” they added, without giving a specific time or date.
The statement also did not say what measures would be imposed if any district residents test positive.
Under China’s stringent zero-COVID approach, all positive cases are isolated and close contacts – often including the entire building or community where they live – are made to quarantine. Shanghai reported nine new local infections yesterday – none in Minhang.
The district’s announcement sparked fear among some social media users that the lockdown tomorrow be prolonged beyond Saturday if any cases are found.
“You need to clarify if (the lockdown) will really be lifted after samples are collected,” one user wrote on Weibo.
“If there are abnormal results after the tests, what will you do? Continue the lockdown?” asked another.
The lockdown in Shanghai – a major global shipping hub – had threatened to pile further pressure on already-strained international supply chains.
But the city has slowly come back to life in recent days.