Since the end of May, the most viral infections have been recorded in Shanghai, and the fact that the number of cases has doubled has fueled worries that China’s financial capital may have to go back into lockdown while authorities search for Covid Zero.
The city has reported a total of 54 cases of local Covid infections as of Wednesday, including two cases that were discovered outside of the quarantine area. This latter finding has raised worries that the virus may be silently spreading across other towns. The number of citizens who are subjected to mass testing in Shanghai has already been expanded. Out of the city’s total of sixteen districts, inhabitants in ten of them and portions of two others will each take two PCR tests over the course of three days.
In another part of the world, the Chinese capital of Beijing reported four new cases of the highly contagious BA.5.2 subvariant on the same day that officials there stated they had discovered it. Inoculated people will be the only ones allowed to enter a wide variety of entertainment and cultural venues in the nation’s capital beginning the following week, and booster shots will be required for workers in several industries, including the medical field. This will be China’s first-ever vaccine mandate.
The BA.5 subvariant has already appeared in western China, and last week the city of Xi’an in central China reported the first domestic spread of the virus in the nation. The authorities have imposed a wide range of limitations, but they have refrained from ordering the country’s 13 million citizens to remain inside their houses. According to Shanghai, the outbreak may be traced back to an older omicron subvariant.
The most recent test of China’s Covid Zero policy comes not long after prior outbreaks were brought under control, which necessitated a harsh lockdown of Shanghai that lasted for two months and exacted a significant toll on the city’s economy and society. Even though the authorities have not yet implemented strict lockdowns in major cities, President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed that China will continue to adhere to the Covid Zero policy. He stated that China would rather endure some temporary impact on economic development than allow the virus to harm the safety and health of its people.
Although this is China’s first entry into a vaccination-boosting approach other nations adopted over a year ago, Beijing’s vaccine requirement is still a cautious move to prevent severe criticism from people since the legislation will not extend to schools, hospitals, or restaurants in the city. However, several people complained about the plan on social media, citing a 2021 statement from China’s National Health Commission, the country’s highest-ranking health authority, which said that immunisation against Covid cannot be imposed and must be done on a voluntary basis.
On Wednesday, there were 338 cases of illness reported throughout the country, the most of which originated from a single county located in the province of Anhui’s eastern region, which is now under quarantine. Cases have also been reported in the surrounding districts, including the logistics centre of Xuzhou; however, the authorities have not yet determined whether or if the clusters are connected to one another.
Wuxi, which is a powerhouse for the manufacture of solar panels and biotechnology, reported somewhere about 30 illnesses on Wednesday. The city has shut down entertainment venues, stopped providing dine-in services, and is forcing delivery employees to undergo three COVID tests every day. These tests consist of one PCR test and two fast antigen tests.