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The largest Chinese city, Shanghai is all set to go under lockdown in a phased manner from today after experiencing a heavy surge in cases. Speaking to the media, the local government said that Shanghai's Pudong financial district and nearby areas will be locked down from early Monday to Friday as citywide mass testing gets underway. Shanghai has a population of over a 26million people.
The announcement of the imposition of the lockdown comes as the city broke its record for daily new cases over three consecutive days. According to the latest reports by the Health Ministry, the city recorded 1,609 new cases on Thursday, 2,267 cases on Friday, and 2,676 on Saturday, respectively.
Primarily triggered by the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, China is now experiencing a new wave of deadly virus infections. The latest figures show that the country is witnessing the highest caseloads since the early days of the pandemic. The government has also said that in the second phase of the lockdown, the vast downtown area west of the Huangpu River that divides the city will then start its own five-day lockdown Friday.
During this lockdown period, residents will be required to stay home and all the online deliveries will be left at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. Apart from this, all the offices and businesses which don't fall under the category of 'essential', will be closed and public transport suspended.
Other than this, on April 1, the city's western half, known as Puxi and featuring the historic Bund riverfront, will lock down until April 5. Some exceptions are also added in the latest guidelines, this includes, all those who are involved with providing vital services such as gas, electricity, transport, sanitation, and the supply of food would be exempted from the stay-at-home order.
The government's data on the total cases reported by China says that the country has logged over 56,000 infections nationwide this month, with a surging outbreak in the northeastern province of Jilin accounting for most of them. Shanghai has had relatively few of those cases, with just 47 recorded Saturday.
Beijing is also imposing certain restrictions to maintain its 'dynamic zero-COVID' approach in order to prevent any future COVID outbreaks. This includes lockdowns and mass testing, with close contacts often being quarantined at home or in a central government facility. The strategy focuses on eradicating community transmission of the virus as quickly as possible, sometimes by locking down entire cities.
(With inputs from Agencies)