About 26 million residents of Shanghai have been placed on a two-stage lockdown as the city faces a new surge of COVID-19 cases.
The lockdown, announced by the local government on Sunday, went into effect on March 28 and will remain through April 1 in an effort to curb a new surge of COVID-19 cases in Shanghai, thus splitting China’s most populous city through the Huangpu River into two phases.
Residents in the affected area were ordered to confine themselves inside their homes during the lockdown, while healthcare officials conducted COVID-19 testing as early as 7 a.m. Monday.
According to local reports, grocery store shelves had been cleared of food, beverages and household supplies, as locals began stocking up on Sunday for the coming lockdown.
Non-essential businesses and offices in the affected areas as well as city transportation will reportedly be closed during the lockdown.
Shanghai had recorded 4,381 asymptomatic cases and 96 symptomatic cases by Monday. Wu Qianyu, an official with the municipal health commission, said at a Monday briefing that around 17,000 health personnel had already conducted 8.26 million tests in the affected districts since the lockdown began.
“The vast numbers of medical staff, grass-roots cadres, community workers and volunteers shared the very hard work on the front line of epidemic prevention and control, and should be thanked,” Wu said.
Shanghai’s COVID-19 prevention and control office said on Sunday that the new health measures were aimed to “curb the virus spread, protect people’s life and health, and achieve the dynamic zero-Covid target as soon as possible.”
The recent lockdown in Shanghai is the biggest one the Chinese government has enforced since the discovery of the virus in Wuhan in late 2019, where 11 million people were confined inside their homes for 76 days at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
China reported 56,000 confirmed nationwide cases this March, with the majority of those coming from Jilin Province, which has confirmed more than 1,000 new cases daily.