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Shanghai starts new round of mass testing amid record Covid surge

By K J M Varma
April 06, 2022 15:15 IST
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Shanghai, China's largest city with over 26 million has started a new round of mass testing after the metropolis added 17,007 new COVID-19 infections, setting a daily record for the fifth consecutive day as officials termed the situation 'extremely grim' with the case numbers in the financial hub crossing 94,000 since March 1.

IMAGE: A door of an apartment is cordoned-off, during the second stage of a two-stage lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, in Shanghai, on April 4, 2022. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Shanghai's single-day infection numbers also beat China's previous all-time high of 13,436 cases recorded in Wuhan on February 12, 2020, where the coronavirus outbreak first emerged.

The residents of the city were kept under tight lockdown for the second week, after mass testing found more than 94,000 infections since March 1, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

 

The city reported 311 positive and 16,766 asymptomatic cases on Tuesday as the city held mass testing of antigen on Sunday followed by nucleic acid tests on Monday for all its population in pursuance of its dynamic zero-case policy, which is coming under severe strain as the cases are spiralling out of control in many cities.

Shanghai's municipal government has started a round of mass testing on Wednesday morning to spot infections and the transmission chain after studying the results of a three-day mass testing exercise from Sunday to Tuesday, the Post report said.

The mass testing exercise, which has never been seen elsewhere in the world, was aimed to spot most of the infections and quarantine them in a quick manner to achieve a dynamic zero-COVID-19 goal, the report said.

China has rushed thousands of personnel from various medical services of the military to Shanghai in a similar move to contain the infections in Wuhan, where COVID-19 first emerged in December 2019.

The Director of Shanghai's working group on epidemic control, Gu Honghui, was quoted by the state media as saying that the outbreak in the city was 'still running at a high level'.

"The situation is extremely grim," Gu said.

Wu Qianyu, an official from Shanghai health authorities, said at Tuesday's press briefing that 'currently, Shanghai's epidemic prevention and control is at the most difficult and most critical stage'.

"We must adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearance without hesitation, without wavering," state-run Global Times quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday that the Chinese mainland reported 1,383 new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Of the local confirmed cases reported on Tuesday, 973 were in Jilin, 311 in Shanghai, and 17 in Zhejiang.

Tuesday also saw 19,199 new asymptomatic cases on the Chinese mainland, the commission said.

The number of COVID-19 patients currently undergoing treatment stood at 24,565, including 75 in critical conditions, the report said.

As per the official figures, 4,638 people have died of COVID-19 in China so far since the virus emerged in Wuhan.

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K J M Varma
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