Shanghai releases more from virus watch during lockdown | health


BEIJING (AP) — Shanghai has released 6,000 more people from the central facilities where they were under medical observation to protect themselves from the coronavirus, the government said Wednesday, despite the lockdown of most of China’s biggest cities entering the third week was maintained.

About 6.6 million people in the city of 25 million were allowed out of their homes on Tuesday, but some were confined to their own neighborhoods. Some housing developments also appeared to still be keeping residents locked down, and no further lifting of restrictions was evident on Wednesday.

Officials warn that Shanghai still hasn’t got the recent spike in cases of the Omicron variant under control, despite its “zero tolerance” approach, which has left some residents locked in their homes for three weeks or more.

China also requires anyone who tests positive or is in close contact with such a person to stay at central observation centers in prefab buildings or gymnasiums and exhibition halls for at least a week to curb the spread of the virus.

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The city’s health department said on Wednesday that 6,044 people were allowed to leave the observation centers and return home the day before, although health surveillance continues.

The number of new daily cases detected in the city rose to 26,338, all but 1,189 in people who showed no symptoms. With more than 200,000 total cases, the ongoing outbreak is China’s largest of the pandemic. But the mass testing has caught many asymptomatic cases and no deaths have been reported in Shanghai.

The lockdown has fueled frustration among Shanghai residents that they are running out of groceries and unable to get deliveries. Censors have painstakingly removed such material from social media, while state-controlled outlets describe a successful campaign to provide food and other supplies, advising residents that “perseverance is victory.”

Shanghai is also home to China’s busiest port and main stock exchange, and concerns are growing about the economic impact of the lockdown.

Figures released on Wednesday showed China’s exports rose 15.7% year on year in March while imports were flat amid disruptions from coronavirus outbreaks.

Customs data shows exports rose to $276.1 billion despite anti-virus controls in Shanghai and other industrial hubs that caused factories to scale back production.

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