COVID Outbreak’ Extremely Grim’ as Shanghai Extends Lockdown

Published: April 7, 2022
Updated: April 7, 2022
Covid
Covid

The COVID-19 epidemic in Shanghai, China’s largest city, is “very bleak” despite a continuous lockdown that has confined nearly 26 million people to their homes, a local official said Tuesday.

On Wednesday, China recorded over 20,000 Covid-19 cases, the biggest daily total since the epidemic began, with Shanghai, despite being under lockdown, as the epicenter of the viral outbreak.

As the number of instances increases, the country’s “zero-Covid” plan is under severe strain. Until March, China has kept everyday instances to a minimum by enacting sudden localized lockdowns, mass testing, and imposing stringent limits on foreign travel.

However, the number of cases has risen to thousands each day in recent weeks, with officials reporting the discovery of a mutation of the highly transmissible Omicron form near Shanghai.

According to the National Health Commission, China registered 20,472 illnesses on Wednesday, with “no new deaths.” It is the country’s highest-ever daily infection rate, even during the peak of the original outbreak, which was centered in Wuhan.

The vast majority of cases, however, are asymptomatic. The COVID-19 epidemic in Shanghai, China’s largest city, is “very bleak” despite a continuous lockdown that has confined nearly 26 million people to their homes, a local official said Tuesday.

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Gu Honghui, the director of Shanghai’s working group on epidemic management, was reported by official media as stating that the city’s outbreak was “still running at a high level.” “The scenario is quite bleak,” Gu said.

China has dispatched almost 10,000 health workers from throughout the nation to assist the city, including 2,000 military personnel, and is mass testing inhabitants, some of whom have been imprisoned for weeks.

The eastern half of Shanghai, which was meant to reopen last Friday, remained closed, as did the western part of the city. On Monday, Shanghai logged 13,354 new cases, the great majority of which were asymptomatic, raising the city’s total to well more than 73,000 since the newest wave of illnesses began last month. 

There have been no reported deaths as a result of the epidemic caused by the omicron BA.2 variety, which is far more infectious but also less dangerous than the prior delta strain.

While China has a vaccination rate of approximately 90%, its domestically manufactured inactivated viral vaccines are regarded as weaker than mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which are used both abroad and in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macao.

Vaccination rates among the elderly are likewise substantially lower than in the general population, with only around half of people over the age of 80 fully immunized.

Following a new rise of Covid cases, Chinese authorities have expanded the city of Shanghai’s lockdown to include all of its 25 million residents.

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Initially, there were distinct measures for the eastern and western parts of the city, but today the entire city is subject to indefinite limitations. Shanghai is the largest single city to have been secured yet.

For more than a month, the key financial center has been fighting a fresh wave of coronavirus infections. The city is putting China’s zero-Covid plan to the test as public outrage over quarantine laws grows.

The stance distinguishes China from the majority of other countries attempting to live with the virus. However, the greater transmissibility and milder character of the Omicron form have raised concerns about the long-term viability of the present technique.

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