SHANGHAI – Authorities in China’s financial center Shanghai say they will begin lifting lockdowns in some areas from Monday, despite reports of more than 25,000 new COVID-19 infections, and they are trying to relocate the city more than two weeks later.
City official Gu Honghui said Shanghai has classified residential units into three risk categories, allowing them to engage in “appropriate activity” in the surrounding area for two weeks in areas where there is no positive case.
“Each district will announce the specific names of the first batch (community) divided into three types and the next three lists will be announced in time,” he told a news briefing.
It promises relief for some of the city’s 25 million residents, many of whom have struggled to find food and medicine for more than three weeks after being trapped in China’s biggest outbreak war since the first coronavirus was first discovered in mid-2019.
Mr Gu said Shanghai had divided the city into 7,624 areas that were still closed, a group of 2,460 people now subject to “control” a week after no new infections and 7,565 “prevention areas” that would open two weeks later. Without a positive case.
Those living in “prevention areas” who are able to roam around them must maintain social distance and be able to shut themselves off again in the event of a new infection, he said.
Shanghai will make “dynamic” adjustments to the new system, Mr Gu added, promising greater efforts to reduce the impact of sanctions on ordinary people in China’s most populous cities.
“We hope that all citizens and friends will continue to support and cooperate,” he said.
Some have criticized the move as a big risk when Shanghai’s caseload has exceeded 25,000.
“I think the Shanghai government has a secret plan to infect the entire Chinese population,” said a poster on the Weibo platform using the name “The Star Broke the Ice.”
Others say the authorities have no choice.
“I think the Shanghai government is acknowledging that it cannot continue the lock-down while ensuring that its citizens do not starve to death,” said another Weibo user, Ruan E.
China’s strategy remains unchanged, but national health official Liang Wanyan said the “dynamic clearance” policy was still Shanghai’s “best option.”
It was misleading to see Omicron as a “big flu” and that reducing China’s protectors would put its huge population at risk, especially because of the virus, Mr Liang said, head of the National Health Commission’s working group on COVID-19.
“If we lay down, the plague would be a disaster for such vulnerable people.” People’s Daily The ruling Communist Party’s newspaper quoted Mr Liang as saying during a visit to the eastern city.
Shanghai on Sunday added 25,173 new asymptomatic infections, up from 23,937 the previous day, although the number of notable cases dropped from 1,006 to 914. – Reuters